Chesapeake Bay Introduced Species Database


Ailanthus altissima

Common name(s):
Tree-of-Heaven
The Tree-of-Heaven is native to northern China where it has a rich history dating back hundreds of years. This fast growing tree can reach 80 feet in its relatively short life (<50 years). It is used as an astringent in traditional Chinese medicine, but can be toxic to domestic animals and cause allergic reactions for some people. It was brought to North America in 1820 as an ornamental tree and, in spite of its foul-smelling flowers, was planted in many urban areas because of its rapid growth and tolerance of urban stresses. It didn?t take long before it started to spread into disturbed sites and adjacent woodlands. It is currently found in 43 states including the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where it was planted in 1876 in Washington DC area. Today it is widespread in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but there is only one report from tidal wetlands - thus it is listed as a boundary resident in the database.
Image courtesy of Luis Fernández García L. Fdez, Creative Commons.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species
Plantae
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliopsida
Sapindales
Simaroubaceae
Ailanthus
Ailanthus altissima


Synonymy:

Ailanthus glandulosa


Potentially Misidentified As:

Rhus spp.


Common Names:

Tree-of-Heaven; Copal Tree; Ailanthus


Comments:

Potentailly misidentified species- Young saplings of Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-Heaven) can be mistaken for native Sumacs (Rhus spp.)


This data was last modified on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014.
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