The lone tree to survive the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in Manhattan is not only healthy and back home at Ground Zero, it has 100 heirs standing short and tall across the country.
One of those is putting down roots in Manorhaven.
Rescue workers in October 2001 found the 8-foot-tall Callery pear tree in the World Trade Center rubble -- limbs missing, its trunk charred, and roots broken.More storiesNewsday's coverage of September 11, 2001
It was moved to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where arborists helped rehabilitate the tree during the next decade. What became known as the "survivor tree" was replanted at the Sept. 11 memorial site in 2010 and has grown to 30 feet in height.
Since then, scientists have used its seeds to generate 500 new trees. The ornamental pear trees, known for their thick white blossoms in the spring, have been planted across the country in areas recovering from disaster or tragedy, such as Sandy Hook, Connecticut, or the superstorm Sandy-ravaged Rockaways.
Manorhaven's tree, planted last month, accompanies the village 9/11 memorials.
The trees "are symbolic of the future and of what we are trying to have resonate with everybody: survival," said David McMaster, a vice president for Bartlett Tree Experts in the company's Southampton branch, which manages the sapling distribution program. "There's always hope for survival, and the tree is symbolic of that."
Manorhaven Deputy Mayor Lucretia Steele said the tree holds "special significance to all of us."
The Town of North Hempstead, which includes Manorhaven, lost 56 residents in the attacks. On Long Island, the trees have also been planted in Commack and Nesconset.
"It's a constant reminder there's always hope, and that's what this tree symbolizes," said Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, who helped plant the sapling at the Manorhaven Preserve, with officials, including Mayor Giovanna Giunta.
To grow new trees, fruit from the original tree, usually rotted, is mashed and the seeds extracted to grow in a greenhouse. Students from John Bowne High School in Queens, partly an agricultural school, generate the new saplings at the campus' farm and greenhouse, he said.
Callery pear trees are not always welcomed by communities. The trees can be considered invasive and are known to develop "dense thickets" that block other native species, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
"It was a very popular tree," McMaster said. "It got overplanted, and like anything that gets overused, it basically ran rampant."
Sam Biederman, spokesman for the New York City Parks Department, said Callery pears are generally not permitted to be planted in city parks or street tree beds. And they can stink. "Any fruit, if left on the ground, rots and is going to smell," McMaster said. "It's not a great tree to plant above a bench."