Invasive Plant

Tree of Heaven

Ailanthus altissima

About This Species

Native to China, Tree of Heaven is a deciduous tree that became popular in BC with gardeners for its rapid growth and interesting foliage. It produces by seed and by division and can sprout nearly anywhere – it is tolerant to a wide range of environmental condition. It is described as foul-smelling and now considered a weedy, invasive species that crowds out other plants.

How to Identify

At maturity, Tree of heaven can reach between 20 – 30 m in height and 10 – 15 m in width. Leaves grow to 50 cm and are divided into oval-shaped leaflets. Flowers are small and white. In the fall, the foliage turns yellow. Fruit is a showy red samara (like a maple’s “helicopter” like winged seeds). Bark is grey and lightly textured.

Credit: C Herms,

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Learn about best practices

A few non-invasive alternatives to plant instead of Tree of Heaven include:

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