I had previously only seen Pruitt-Igoe in the winter, so it was exciting and surprising to get a closer look at it in early fall color. Spontaneous vegetation is often characterized as “invasive species” — and invasive species are typically characterized as so aggressive that they can eventually establish a monoculture. But at Pruitt-Igoe, there seem to be distinct communities.
The variety of species suggests a variety of different conditions in the site — Tree of Heaven, for instance, is very drought tolerant, where Cottonwood is typically associated with more mesic areas. It’s also interesting to see that the communities consist of a mix of native and non-native/invasive species. The St Louis area is limestone-rich, so the concrete rubble at Pruitt-Igoe could be good habitat for some of the region’s native plants.