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Tree of heaven has invasive traits that enable it to spread aggressively. This tree is under observation and may be listed on official invasive species lists in the near future. Review of risks should be undertaken before selecting this tree for planting sites. Tree of heaven is an aggressive grower and produces a lot of suckers. It is generally not recommended for landscapes.

  • Family (English) Quassia
  • Family (botanic) Simaroubaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 40-60 feet
  • Mature width 35-60 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Road salt, Wet sites
  • Season of interest late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Other
  • Shape or form Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Excessive sucker growth
  • Wildlife Insect pollinators
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Tree of heaven is native to China.

Bark color and texture: 

The gray bark is relatively smooth, but marked with long, thin, lighter colored streaks.  

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

Alternate, compound leaves up to 2 feet long have up to 25 leaflets per leaf. Leaflets are ovate with two to four prominent teeth at the base.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Male and female flowers generally on separate trees (dioecious). Male flowers produce a bad odor while female flowers produce no odor. Numerous tiny flowers in long clusters (usually longer than one foot), in late spring or early summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Female trees only produce large clusters of winged seeds (samaras), which are orange to red in summer, maturing to brown in autumn.


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