Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anyone From California Recognize "The Sperm Tree"?

With spring coming up, I am reminded of another reason that I'm glad I moved out of the American west and never care to see it again: The Sperm Trees.

I'll try to assure those of you who have never had the "pleasure" to know what I'm talking about that, no, Californians aren't crazy (at least not for this reason). Right around this time of year, the air in southern California is absolutely saturated by the constant smell of human semen in the air, and it's all the fault of some particularly cheeky trees.

All the way back in 1985, The Straight Dope started talking about it. Nobody knows what the trees are called, but they all agree: (a) It stinks obscenely, (b) it's everywhere and hardy as a weed, (c) sprouts tiny white blossoms, and (d) attracts both bees and flies. Many trees were speculated upon as the culprit, including carob or ginko. But the greatest consensus seems to be the "tree of Heaven" noted as "Ailanthus altissima".

The USDA qualifies it as an invasive species, fit to be cut out and burned wherever you find it. It crowds out native species and is one of the only trees that can grow up right through concrete, causing property damage. Like all of the troublesome plants of southern California, it was imported by cheap land developers spreading booming urban sprawl throughout the 1900s.

Not everybody agrees that this tree is the sole suspect, however. An Encino blogger believes that this is more than one tree species.

All I know is that I don't miss it. I've heard descriptions saying that it smells like eggs or rotten meat. Balls! It smells like fresh, hot, wet cum, and that is the only thing it smells like, like God in heaven spunked in your face.