Scientific Name:
Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle (1916)
  • = Toxicodendron altissimus Mill. (1768) – as Altissimum
Vernacular Name(s):
tree of heaven

Deciduous tree, usually or always dioecious in N.Z., to c. 25 m high with pale-striped, smooth bark, often suckering extensively from underground roots. Buds suborbicular. Lvs 40–60–(70) cm long; rachis glabrous or puberulent. Leaflets 11–25, the terminal one often reduced or abortive; petiole < 1 cm long, puberulent or glabrous. Lamina 7–15–(17) × 3–6–(7.5) cm, narrowly to broadly ovate, acuminate at apex, glabrous, or hairy towards base of midrib below, glaucescent below; basal glands prominent, usually at apex of small basal lobes, sometimes at apex of 2, small, distinct leaflets. Peduncles and pedicels glabrous or slightly puberulent. Fls foetid. Calyx c. 1 mm long; lobes ± triangular-ovate. Petals 2.5–4 mm long, green, white-woolly within and on lower margins. Staminodes of ♀ fls similar in size to stamens of ♂; filaments slender, < to slightly > petals. Pistil rudimentary in ♂ fls. Samara (2.5)–3–5–(4.5) × 0.7–1.4 cm, light reddish brown or pinkish red, tapering at each end, notched on 1 side opposite seed.

[From: Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]


Flowering: Dec.–Jan.

Biosecurity New Zealand 2012: Regional Pest Management Strategies Database.
Biosecurity New Zealand 4 Aug 2011: Unwanted Organisms Register.
Biosecurity New Zealand 2008: National Plant Pest Accord. MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, Wellington.
Edwards, R. 2008: Lincoln University campus – a guide to some of the trees currently growing there. Lincoln University, Lincoln.
Ministry for Primary Industries 23 Feb 2017: Unwanted Organisms Register. Version 02.01.02.