Tree of Heaven

Ailanthus altissima

Tree of Heaven Ailanthus altissima is a large tree (80’ – 100’ tall), native to China and Taiwan, and first introduced into the U.S. (Philadelphia area) in 1784. Initially, it was planted in urban areas as an ornamental to provide shade along city streets, but soon spread uncontrollably into agricultural lands and natural areas. It is classified by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as a Tier II invasive species defined as “currently causing moderately negative impacts on wildlife or natural communities in Louisiana”. Within Louisiana it occurs mostly in North Louisiana and the Florida Parishes.

The plant is spread primarily by wind- and water-dispersed seeds; it also produces root suckers. Allelopathic chemicals released from Tree of Heaven leaves, roots, and bark inhibit the growth of other nearby plants. This species is not sold in the trade today.

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