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Tree-of-Heaven  Ailanthus altissima   Quassia Family (Simaroubaceae)
 

Tree-of-Heaven
 

Description: Weedy tree native to China, rapid growing, stout hairy twigs and a flat topped crown of stout branches. It thrives even in poor soils and can grow 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) wide and 35 to 65 feet (10 to 20 m) tall. Compound leaves can be enormous, up to 3 feet (1 m) long on young vigorous trees and have a disagreeable odor when crushed. Each leaflet usually has only 1 to 3 teeth on each side. Flowers are small, greenish white, in large terminal clusters. Male and female flowers open on separate trees, and look similar from a distance. Female trees produce large, dense bunches of fruit which ripen during August and September, that hang on the tree through the winter. Each fruit is about 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) long with a seed in the center of the wing. The bark is thin, dark gray, and somewhat roughened. This species produces many suckers arising from roots, which eventually form new plants.

Distribution: Common and widespread throughout area of Redding Field Office below 2900 feet (885 m) elevation.

Habitat: Disturbed, moist locations such as along roads, old placer mining operations. and in riparian woodlands.