Taxon Details: Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle
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Family:

Simaroubaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.
Common Names:

tree of heaven, ailanthus, tree-of-heaven, copal tree
Description:

Author: Scott A. Mori

Description: Trees, fast growing. Leaf-bearing stems thick. Leaves alternate, imparipinnate, to 1 m long, with up to 30 pairs of opposite leaflets, the terminal leaflet sometimes poorly developed or absent, with inconspicuous glands (best seen on the abaxial surface) on some leaflet bases. Plants unisexual (dioecious) but some times with bisexual flowers. Flowers 5 merous, mostly green or yellow-green; ovary superior, the carpels separate. Fruits monocarps (each monocarp derived from a separate carpel of a flower), the monocarps winged.

Distribution: Originally native to eastern Asia. Introduced in the United States in the late 1700's as an urban ornamental tree. Now established in most states of the United States and eastern Canada as well as in other countries.

Ecology: Usually found along roadsides. This species tolerates poor soil and withstands pollination, thus, it is able to grow in cities. Flowers in summer and seeds dispersed by the wind in late summer and early fall.

Similar species: None in the norheastern United States.

Control: This species is difficult to control because it produces vast numbers of monocarps that are dispersed by the wind and because once a tree becomes established it also reproduces vegetatively by suckers from their roots. In addition, seedlings remain viable in the soil for at least several years after the mother trees have been cut down. See Grover et al. (2004) for more information about controlling this invasive species.

Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle: [Book] Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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