*Tree-of-heaven

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*Ailanthus altissima
TREE-OF-HEAVEN

Simaroubaceae
China

Location: map coordinates W-2 (next to fence of Facilities parking lot, southeast of water tower), N 39°11'5'' W 75°32'51''

Planting history: presently unknown; probably a volunteer.

Description:
  • medium-sized deciduous tree
  • etymology: Ailanthus from Indonesian name ailanthos; altissima = tallest
  • leaves compound (11-41 leaflets); glands on leaf teeth near leaf base have distinctive unpleasant odor
  • incompletely dioecious (dioecious means male and female flowers on separate trees)
  • fruits dry; in large clusters
  • can spread by suckering
  • allelopathic; chemical ailanthone inhibits growth of other nearby plants
  • grows in disturbed areas, fast-growing and short-lived; tolerates polluted cities; relatively shade-intolerant
  • used in traditional Chinese medicine
  • leaves are eaten by ailanthus silkmoth caterpillars
  • this is the tree featured in the book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith

*Non-native species (not native to Delaware); listed as Invasive in Delaware

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