During the winter months, the bark and leaf scars are the best ways to identify tree-of-heaven. All trees in a single clone are the same sex. In China, it is called chouchun, which literally translates as "foul smelling tree." Ailanthus seed clusters (photo by Bill Johnson). Foliage Foliage is one of the best identifying characteristics for this species. Leaflets are 3 ̶ 5” long and often have 2 to 4 blunt teeth at the base but are otherwise smooth along the edges. Who do I contact if I have a question about a specific video? Originally, from China and Taiwan, it proliferates and grows rapidly, often before people realize that it is a problem. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailanthus_altissima, Alien Plant Invader: Tree-of-Heaven. However, on close inspections of stems, buds, fruit pods and trunk, you can tell the difference. Each leaf has 11 to 25 leaflets. These trees are sometimes confused because of similar compound leaf shape and occurrence in the same disturbed habitats. The leaflets have an unequal base with two to four teeth. The bark can be light brown to grey, and smooth in young trees. Announcing the 2018 Park Tree Inventory Locations! Its leaves alternate along the stems, and are pinnately compound, composed of 11 to 41 leaflets per leaf. Tree-of-heaven as pinnately compound leaves, meaning that each leaf has a central stem called a rachis, with multiple leaflets on both sides. Tree of Heaven seed pod identification. It can grow to a large size, with mature trees reaching 80 feet in height, and six feet in diameter. In later years, the bark turns a darker grey and becomes rough. You can turn this feature on and off within the video frame. By using these key characteristics, you will be able to identify tree-of-heaven on your property, as well as across the landscape. They often turn a reddish color as they mature, and are clustered in large groups. Invasive Species - (Ailanthus altissima) Tree of Heaven is a fast-growing, deciduous tree reaching up to 70 feet. Individual samaras eventually fall to the ground, assisted by gravity and wind. http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=7, © Copyright 2020 City of Portland, Oregon, USA, The seed clusters of this species can be another indicator to determine species. Whatever you call it, this invasive tree has become a big problem in our region. Both Sumac and Tree of Heaven are in flower in northeast Ohio, which in fact is one of the best ways to tell them apart. Use the social media links on the video pages to share videos with your friends, family, and coworkers! The twigs have large V or heart-shaped leaf scars. Learning to identify this invader is the first step in controlling its spread. Tree-of-heaven is very prolific and a mature female can produce between 300,000 and 350,000 fertile seeds each year. The leaf scars, they are exposed when the leaf falls from the stem. Ailanthus, Chinese sumac, and stinking sumac. Not signed up? News Alert: 25,000 Trees in Flower Across Portland! However you describe the smell, Ailanthus lives up to its Chinese name. To summarize, the distinguishing characteristics of tree-of-heaven include pinnately compound leaves, leaflets with smooth edges and glandular teeth at the base, distinctive unpleasant odor, bark resembling the skin of a cantaloupe, stout greenish brown twigs that have a spongy brown pith, and seeds in twisted samaras that remain on the female trees into the winter. Smooth bark of young Ailanthus (photo by Iowa State University). Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven) is a tree (family Simaroubaceae) that is widely but discontinuously distributed in California. Urban Forestry Completes Pilot Year for Yard Tree Giveaway. Tree of Heaven Identification, Look-a-Likes, and Biology. If the tree has finished flowering and produced fruit or seed, this is a great way to qui ckly identify the tree, even if at a distance. Crowds out native species; damages pavement and building foundations in urban areas (Fryer 2010) The twigs of tree-of-heaven are alternate on the tree. A.K.A. A. altissima has gracefully curving branches, usually only 6-10 m tall, but sometimes growing up to 30 m high.The bark is smooth with pale stripes. At the base of each leaflet you will find one or two bumps known as glandular teeth. It has large leaf scars on the twigs. Also, check out Tree-of-Heaven Eradication Now! https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/504479, Journey with Nature; Tree of Heaven. https:www.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/iowa_trees/trees/tree_of_heaven.html, Tree-of-heaven: Simaroubaceae Ailanthus altissima. If the tree is a seedling, you can pull it out by the roots. Tree of Heaven vs Staghorn Sumac. at tenpdx.org for more information and resources. The seeds are dispersed during winter months, so they are a good way to identify Ailanthus once it has lost its leaves. Tree-of-heaven as pinnately compound leaves, meaning that each leaf has a central stem called a rachis, with multiple leaflets on both sides. Plantlife believes this species should be listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales. The seeds are dispersed during winter months, so they are a good way to identify, Bureaus & Offices of the City of Portland. Tree of Heaven is a favored host of Spotted Lantern Fly, Lycorma delicatula. You may want to burn it … To watch a video, you will need access to a computer or mobile device that is connected to the internet. Known by a number of names including stinking sumac, Chinese sumac, varnish tree and stink tree, the plant releases a strong, offensive smell, particularly from its flowers. Videos can be accessed on most desktops, laptops, and mobile device. Each leaflet is smooth-edged but has a single tooth at the base of the leaf. - Tree-of-heaven, ailanthus altissima, often referred to as simply ailanthus, is a rapidly growing, exotic invasive tree native to Asia. Congratulations to 2017's Golden DBH Award Winners: The DiCarlos! Californians in Oregon: How do sequoias and redwoods do in Portland? Tree-of-Heaven produces samaras that hang in clusters and turn a dull orange/brown color. Some people describe the smell as rancid peanut butter or well-worn gym socks. It was first introduced into the United States in the late 1700s, and has since become an aggressive, invasive species, that can quickly overwhelm roadsides, fields, and natural areas, displacing native plants. Today it is frequently found in abandoned mining sites there. The samaras are found in clusters, which remain on the tree through much of the winter. Appearance Ailanthus altissima is a rapidly growing, typically small tree up to 80 ft. (24.4 m) in height and 6 ft. (1.8 m) in diameter. Its leaves resemble native sumac, but its fruits are flat, twisted, winged seeds. In fact the tree has both odd-pinnate as well as even-pinnate leaves. East Portland’s Douglas Firs Defined the David Douglas District, Ventura Park Has Long Been a Quiet Stopping Place Off Stark Street, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailanthus_altissima, https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/504479, http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/indiana/journeywithnature/tree_of_heaven-1.xml, http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Verrill_Wolf/pages/tree_of_heaven.html, https:www.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/iowa_trees/trees/tree_of_heaven.html, http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=7. Identifying Ailanthus altissima by studying pods from a Tree of Heaven. When crushed, the leaves have a strong odor resembling peanut butter. Tree-of-heaven is a pervasive and invasive tree that is found in much of the U.S. LEARN HOW TO STOP THE INVASIVE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY, Coronavirus: Information and resources for the Extension Community. It causes a skin rash in some people. Tree of Heaven's flowers and leaves have an unpleasant odor, somewhat like rotten peanut butter. You can watch our videos as many times as you like. If you are wondering how to kill the tree of heaven plants, the best method depends on the age and placement of the tree. Leaflets with notches, or teeth, at leaflet base (photo by National Parks Service). Only registered users can write reviews. The margin of the leaves on tree-of-heaven are smooth containing just 1-to-2 teeth at the base of each leaflet while the leaf margins of both sumac and walnut are toothed, or serrated. Lateral buds are located at the top of each leaf scar as seen in this image. At first sight the leaf looks like that of the Common Ash. Tree-of-heaven tolerates a wide variety of sight and moisture conditions, from fertile soils along rivers and streams, to rocky drought-prone soils on ridge tops and abandoned mines. Identification: Tree-of-Heaven is a deciduous tree that may reach 80 feet in height and 6 feet in diameter. You can use these characteristics to identify Ailanthus, which is the first step to controlling its spread and the damage that it can do to both urban and natural areas.