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Ailanthus altissima is often confused with:
Toona sinensis Form
Native alternative(s) for Ailanthus altissima:
Acer rubrum Acer rubrum
Carya illinoinensis Carya illinoinensis
Chionanthus virginicus Flowering branch
Quercus rubra Full Form
Rhus glabra Leaves
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Heracleum maximum Form in native habitat
Lonicera japonica Lonicera japonica flowers
Elaeagnus pungens Form
Ailanthus altissima has some common insect problems:
Spotted Lanternfly

Tree-of-Heaven Ailanthus altissima

Phonetic Spelling
ay-LAN-thus al-TISS-ih-muh
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Tree of heaven is a non-native invasive small tree in the Simaroubaceae family.  While it is native to China it has agressively naturalized in many parts of the USA and all areas of North Carolina.

The leaves are the best way to identify this tree as the large compound leaves have a  glandular, notched base on each leaflet. In spring large clusters of yellow flowers appear above the trees that are followed by winged fruits that are dispersed by the wind or water. They also spread suckers.

The tree forms dense, thickets that will displace native species and is tolerant of poor soil increasing its invasive abilities.  It will even grow in the cracks of pavement. It is reported to be invasive in natural areas in 30 states across the continental U.S. and Hawaii. 

Please choose native trees to plant instead.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Very invasive and difficult to eradicate once it establishes itself.  Potential host for the invasive spotted lanternfly.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#invasive#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#thickets#agressive#deciduous tree#malodorous#dense growth
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#invasive#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#thickets#agressive#deciduous tree#malodorous#dense growth
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ailanthus
    Species:
    altissima
    Family:
    Simaroubaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Description:
    Large drooping clusters of flat, twisted reddish brown winged seed
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Large showy 4-7 inch clusters of yellow-green flowers May-June. Flowers may have a foul odor.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    18 to 24 in. pinnately compound leaves with 10-41 leaflets that have a glandular, notched base on each leaflet. Non-showy fall color. Leaves can have a foul odor when crushed
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Smooth, pale gray bark. The wood is soft, weak, coarse-grained and creamy white to light brown in color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are light chestnut brown. Stems can have a foull odor when broken.
  • Landscape:
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Pollution
    Poor Soil
    Urban Conditions
    Problems:
    Allelopathic
    Invasive Species
    Malodorous
    Weedy