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Tree-Of-Heaven, Ailanthus altissima


Short description of Ailanthus altissima, Tree-Of-Heaven

With large pinnate leaves, it resembles an ash, sumac or walnut.  Less hairy than sumac, it has larger, more pinnate leaves than ash or walnut, with 11-25 pairs of leaflets, each 7-12 cm long.  Unlike ash and walnut, it produces abundant sprouts from the roots.  Broken twigs have a distinctive unpleasant smell.

Description of Ailanthus altissima, Tree-Of-Heaven status in GB

Tree-of-heaven is widely planted by streets and in parks.  It escapes in SE England and is invasive in the London area.

Habitat summary: Ailanthus altissima, Tree-Of-Heaven

Mainly in urban areas, especially near parks and gardens, and in London along railways.  It is also planted in the grounds and parks of country houses.

Overview table

Environment: Terrestrial
Species status: Non-Native
Native range: China South East perimeter
Functional type: Land plant
Status in England: Non-Native
Status in Scotland: Non-Native
Status in Wales: Non-Native
Location of first record: v.c.17
Date of first record: 1935

Distribution map

Map of the UK with areas shaded to show the UK distribution of Tree-Of-Heaven

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

Mark Hill and Markus Wagner

Last updated:

November 27th 2015

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Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark