Page author: David Giblin
Ailanthus altissima

Distribution: Occurring mostly east of the Cascades in Washington, but also in scattered localities west of the Cascades; widely distributed throughout North America.

Habitat: Escaped ornamental in roadsides, waste areas, along railroad tracks, and other open, disturbed areas.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Introduced from China

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Large, fast-growing, smooth-barked, sub-dioecious trees.


Leaves very large, alternate, pinnate, deciduous, glabrous or puberulent; leaflets 10-25, the terminal one often absent, lance-ovate, 4-15 cm. long, with 1-3 coarse, rounded teeth on each side near the base, each tooth bearing a gland on the lower side.


Inflorescence a large, open panicle; flowers small, greenish, 6-8 mm. broad, ill-scented; sepals 5, persistent; petals 5, deciduous; stamens 10 on the perfect and staminate flowers.


Samaras 2.5-5 cm. long, spirally twisted.

Accepted Name:
Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle
Publication: J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 6(14): 495. 1916.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Ailanthus glandulosa Desf.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Ailanthus altissima in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Ailanthus altissima checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Ailanthus altissima atlas page.

CalPhotos: Ailanthus altissima photos.

USDA Plants: Ailanthus altissima information.

49 photographs:
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