Plantae > Tracheophyta > Magnoliopsida > Sapindales > Simaroubaceae > Ailanthus > Ailanthus altissima

Ailanthus altissima (ailanthus; copal tree; Tree of heaven; Chinese sumac; Stinking shumac; tree-of-heaven)


Wikipedia Abstract

Ailanthus vilmoriniana, commonly known as Downy Tree of Heaven, is a tree in the quassia family. It is native to western China, but is occasionally encountered in northern European gardens.
View Wikipedia Record: Ailanthus altissima


Invasive Species

Ailanthus altissima is a very aggressive plant, a prolific seed producer (up to 350,000 seeds in a year), grows rapidly, and can overrun native vegetation. It also produces toxins that prevent the establishment of other plant species. The root system is aggressive enough to cause damage to sewers and foundations.
View ISSG Record: Ailanthus altissima


Air Quality Improvement [1]  None
Allergen Potential [1]  High
Carbon Capture [1]  Medium-High
Screening - Summer [2]  Moderate
Screening - Winter [2]  Moderate
Shade Percentage [1]  86 %
Temperature Reduction [1]  Medium-Low
Wind Reduction [1]  Medium
Bloom Period [2]  Late Spring
Drought Tolerance [2]  Medium
Edible [3]  May be edible. See the Plants For A Future link below for details.
Fire Tolerance [2]  Medium
Flower Type [3]  Dioecious
Frost Free Days [2]  5 months
Fruit/Seed Abundance [2]  High
Fruit/Seed Begin [2]  Summer
Fruit/Seed End [2]  Fall
Growth Form [2]  Single Stem
Growth Period [2]  Spring, Summer
Growth Rate [2]  Rapid
Hazards [3]  The plant is possibly poisonous; Male flowers have potentially allergenic pollen; The leaves are toxic to domestic animals; Gardeners who fell the tree may suffer rashes; The odour of the foliage is intensely disagreeable and can cause headache and nausea, rhinitis and conjunctivitis;The pollen can cause hay fever;
Janka Hardness [4]  1730 lbf (785 kgf) Medium
Leaf Type [3]  Deciduous
Lifespan [2]  Perennial
Pollinators [3]  Bees
Propagation [2]  Bare Root, Container, Cutting, Seed
Root Depth [2]  30 inches (76 cm)
Scent [3]  The large leaves have glandular teeth near their base and these release a pungent aroma when pressed.
Seed Spread Rate [2]  Rapid
Seed Vigor [2]  High
Seeds Per [2]  14640 / lb (32276 / kg)
Shape/Orientation [2]  Rounded
Specific Gravity [6]  0.53
Structure [3]  Tree
Usage [3]  A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves; The leaves contain 12% tannin, quercetin, as well as isoquercetin, and the alkaloid linuthine; The leaves and wood are high in cellulose and are used in paper-making; The crushed leaves and flowers are insect-repellent; The plant parts, when steeped in water, are said to yield an insecticidal solution; An aqueous extract of the leaves contains a substance that is toxic to other tree seedlings; When plants are put into marshy areas they drain the soil and thereby remove mosquito breeding sites; The plants have extensive root systems and sucker freely, they can be used in soil-stabilization programmes; Since the plant is tolerant of soil pollution it can also be used in land reclamation schemes on old mine tips etc; Plants can be grown as a tall hedge; Wood - fairly hard, heavy, difficult to split, not durable, coarse grained. Though little used, except in poorer countries, the wood is suitable for cabinetry, cellulose manufacture, furniture, lumber, pulp, and woodwork. It is difficult to split but easy to work and polish. The wood is also used locally for charcoal and firewood; Yields of 20 cubic metres per hectare is possible for this light wood;
Vegetative Spread Rate [2]  Rapid
Flower Color [2]  Green
Foliage Color [2]  Green
Fruit Color [2]  Yellow
Flower Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Fruit Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Height [3]  82 feet (25 m)
Width [3]  49 feet (15 m)
Hardiness Zone Minimum [1]  USDA Zone: 5 Low Temperature: -20 F° (-28.9 C°) → -10 F° (-23.3 C°)
Hardiness Zone Maximum [1]  USDA Zone: 8 Low Temperature: 10 F° (-12.2 C°) → 20 F° (-6.7 C°)
Light Preference [5]  Mostly Sunny
Soil Acidity [5]  Neutral
Soil Fertility [5]  Rich
Soil Moisture [5]  Moist
Water Use [1]  Low
View Plants For A Future Record : Ailanthus altissima

Protected Areas



North America;

External References

USDA Plant Profile



Attributes / relations provided by
1i-Tree Species v. 4.0, developed by the USDA Forest Service's Northern Research Station and SUNY-ESF using the Horticopia, Inc. plant database.
2USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
3Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
4Wood Janka Hardness Scale/Chart J W Morlan's Unique Wood Gifts
5Ellenberg, H., Weber, H.E., Dull, R., Wirth, V., Werner, W., Paulissen, D. (1991) Zeigerwerte von Pflanzen in Mitteleuropa. Scripta Geobotanica 18, 1–248
6Forest Inventory and Analysis DB version 5.1, May 4, 2013, U.S. Forest Service
7HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
8Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
9Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License