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Pest Information

Tree-of-Heaven

Tree-of-Heaven

  • Latin Name: Ailanthus Altissima
  • Common Name: Tree-of-Heaven
  • Other Names: Ailanthus, copal-tree

Pest Details

Tree-of-Heaven
Tree-of-Heaven

Origin:

Native to Eastern Asia and introduced as an ornamental garden plant. Now escaped and a growing problem in empty lots, roadsides, and waste areas in California.

Biology:

This is a rapidly growing, perennial tree, capable of extensive re-growth from roots left behind after the parent tree is cut down. Propagation is also from seeds, which germinate in early through late spring, with fruit maturing in the fall.

Identification:

Mature trees can grow up to 60 feet tall, and growth is extremely rapid. The leaves are shed during the winter months, leaving a sparsely stemmed tree. Bark is smooth and gray. Leaves are up to 3 feet long, but are divided deeply into from 13 to 25 leaflets, a pattern referred to as “pinnately compound”, with leaflets arranged on either side of the central stalk. Each of these leaflets is up to 5 inches long, and is elongate and pointed. At the base of the lower leaflets there are several teeth that have a circular gland near them, and when these glands are crushed the plant gives off a very unpleasant odor. Flowers occur on a long, terminal cluster, as small greenish flowers. Flowers may have only male, only female, or both parts, and the male flowers have a foul smell. The seed pods that form are about 1.5 inches long and flattened and twisted, allowing them to be dispersed some distance by the wind.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

A rapidly growing perennial that can re-grow from roots left in the soil.

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