Tree of Heaven

FAMILY: Simaroubaceae | GENUS: AILANTHUS altissima

TYPE
  • Trees
  • Deciduous
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
  • Moderate Water
  • Drought Tolerant
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8

Plant Details

If any tree could be termed a garbage tree, this is it. Native to China, it has spread by seed over much of the South. Because it tolerates drought, pollution, wind, and terrible soil (not to mention verbal abuse), it comes up everywherealleys, yards, parking lots, roadsides, even cracks in the pavement. Often seen on city streets, thriving where all other trees have failed. Grows very fast to 50 ft. tall and wide. The leaves reach 13 ft. long and are divided into many leaflets; they resemble sumac (Rhus) foliage. Male trees bear malodorous green flowers; females produce inconspicuous blooms that give rise to showy clusters of reddish winged seedpods. Branches release a sickening smell when cut or broken. Whoever named this plant tree of heaven had a dim view of the afterlife.

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