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‘Vomit’ Smell From Trees Annoys Queens Residents

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Queens residents want the Parks Department to remove smelly ginkgo biloba trees they planted years ago.

Queens residents want the Parks Department to remove smelly ginkgo biloba trees they planted years ago.

Tony Aiello thumbnail Tony Aiello
Tony Aiello serves as a CBS 2 general assignment reporter. After...
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NEW YORK (CBS 2) – What’s that smell?

Some residents in Queens are fuming over stinky trees planted by the city. The Parks Department acknowledged that it’s a problem, but has refused to fix it, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

When John Foertsch walks his dog, he steps gingerly to avoid the funky-smelling fruit of the female ginkgo biloba trees. When you step on one, your nose knows immediately.

“The stench is horrible – it’s like a combination of dog excrement and vomit,” Foertsch said. “It’s a nauseating smell.”

Years ago, the city planted six female ginkgo biloba trees along Langdale Street. The trees drop a bumper crop of fruit each fall.

“The fruit is pretty repulsive,” said Fred Gerber, an expert at Queens Botanical Garden.

Gerber said that’s why the females shouldn’t be planted in residential areas.

“Usually they’re planted by mistake, and of course the males don’t have any fruit, so those are the ones you usually see on the street,” Gerber said.

The city, however, is refusing to remove the female trees on Langdale Street.

A Parks official said in a statement, “While we no longer plant female ginkgo trees, we do not remove healthy ones. Trees offer many benefits which far outweigh any inconveniences that they may present.”

Residents said that explanation stinks.

“They need to come out here and see what … not only what it does to your shoes, but the carpet inside your house, and the carpet inside your vehicle,” resident Pat O’Brien said.

There are those people, though, who appreciate ginkgo fruit for the seed inside. Some said the seed tastes like a green pea crossed with Limburger cheese.

Residents said they will continue to pester the Parks Department to take down the trees – and give their noses a break.

Ginkgo biloba is said to promote blood flow to the brain and improve memory. Residents said that on weekends, health food fans visit the street to gather the fruit.

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