Plant Assessment Form

Triadica sebifera

Synonyms: Sapium sebiferum; Croton sebiferum, Excoecaria sebifera, Stillingia sebifera, Triadica sinensis

Common Names: Chinese tallow tree; popcorn tree; chicken tree; Florida aspen; Vegetable tallow; white wax berry

Evaluated on: 8/16/04

List committee review date: 11/02/2005

Re-evaluation date:

Evaluator(s)

Mark Newhouser/Project Director, Arundo Eradication and Coordination Project
Sonoma Ecology Center
205 First Street West Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 996-0712 ext. 113
mnewhouser@vom.com

List commitee members

Carla Bossard
John Randall
Cynthia Roye
Jake Sigg
Peter Warner

General Comments

Removed second scientific name, Sapium sebiferum, and added it to the synonym line 3/28/17. Ramona Robison

Table 2. Criteria, Section, and Overall Scores

Overall Score? Moderate
Alert Status? Alert
Documentation? 3 out of 5
Score Documentation
1.1 ?Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Impact?
Four-part score BBBD Total Score
B
1.2 ?Impact on plant community B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.4 ?Impact on genetic integrity D. None
2.1 ?Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance in establishment A. Severe Reviewed Scientific Publication
Invasiveness?
Total Points
13 Total Score B
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management U. Unknown
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state B. Increasing less rapidly Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.6 ? Potential for natural long-distance dispersal B. Occasional Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.7 ?Other regions invaded B. Invades 1 or 2 ecological types Reviewed Scientific Publication
3.1 ?Ecological amplitude/Range
(see Worksheet C)
C. Limited Reviewed Scientific Publication
Distribution?
Total Score C
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
D. Very low Observational

Table 3. Documentation

Scores are explained in the "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands".

Section 1: Impact
Question 1.1 Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify ecosystem processes impacted:

The Chinese tallow tree alters nutrient levels in soil. The tallow tree adds nutrients to systems where it has been introduced (increases eutrophication). Through rapidly decomposing leaf litter the tallow tree increases the levels of nitrogen, phosphrus, and other nutrients while decreasing levels of sodium and magnesium.


Sources of information:

Barrilleaux,-T.C; Grace,-J.B.2000. ÐGrowth and invasive potential of Sapium sebiferum (Euphorbiaceae) within the coastal prairie region: the effects of soil and moisture regime.Ó American Journal of Botany. 87 (8):1099-1106.
Cameron G.C., Spencer S.R. ÐRapid Leaf Decay and Nutrient Release in a Chinese Tallow Forest.Ó Oecologia 80:222-228. 1989.
DiTomaso J.M., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished.
Jubinsky G. ÐChinese Tallow, (Sapium sebiferum).Ó Dept. Enviro. Protection, Florida. Publication # TSS-93-03. 1995


Question 1.2 Impact on plant community composition,
structure, and interactions?
B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

The Chinese tallow tree can alter plant species composition and structure. Once established it is able to form monotypic stands. It has taken over areas of coastal prairie in Texas and areas of coastal floodplain forests of the Southeast. The tallow tree grows faster than native vegetation and can establish and grow under a variety of different conditions.


Sources of information:

Bruce K.A., et al. ÐIntroduction, Impact on Native Habitats, and Management of a Woody Invader, the Chinese Tallow Tree, Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.Ó Natural Areas Journal 17(3): 255-260. 1997.
Cameron G.C., Spencer S.R. ÐRapid Leaf Decay and Nutrient Release in a Chinese Tallow Forest.Ó Oecologia 80:222-228. 1989.
Conway W.C., Smith L.M. ÐPotential Allelopathic Interference by the Exotic Chinese Tallow Tree (Sapium sebiferum).Ó American Midlands Naturalist 148: 43-53. 2002.
Jones R.H., McLeod K.W. ÐShade Tolerance in Seedlings of Chinese Tallow Tree, American Sycamore, and Cherrybark Oak.Ó Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 116(4): 371-377. 1989.
Jubinsky G. ÐChinese Tallow, (Sapium sebiferum).Ó Dept. Enviro. Protection, Florida. Publication # TSS-93-03. 1995
Randall, J. M. ÐWeed Alert! New Invasive Weeds in California.Ó CAL IPC Proceedings. 1997.
Siemann, E. and W. E. Rogers (2003). "Changes in light and nitrogen availability under pioneer trees may indirectly facilitate tree invasions of grasslands." Journal of Ecology 91(6): 923-931.


Question 1.3 Impact on higher trophic levels? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

The berries of the tallow tree are eaten by many bird species and the foliage is not grazed by herbivores in areas where established. Studies in Texas have shown that rates of nutrient cycling promotes populations of a non-native isopod and depresses populations of native invertebrates. It produces tannins which inhibit the feeding of isopod and amphipod invertebrates in aquatic systems and toxic chemicals capable of stupefying fish. Although the tallow tree may be a food source for birds it could be harmful to aquatic species. Also, the tallow tree displaces native vegetation reducing habitat and food sources for native wildlife.


Sources of information:

Bruce K.A., et al. ÐIntroduction, Impact on Native Habitats, and Management of a Woody Invader, the Chinese Tallow Tree, Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.Ó Natural Areas Journal 17(3): 255-260. 1997.
DiTomaso J.M., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished.
Jubinsky G. ÐChinese Tallow, (Sapium sebiferum).Ó Dept. Enviro. Protection, Florida. Publication # TSS-93-03. 1995
Lankau, R. A., W. E. Rogers, et al. (2004). "Constraints on the utilisation of the invasive Chinese tallow tree Sapium sebiferum by generalist native herbivores in coastal prairies." Ecological Entomology 29(1): 66-75.
Randall, J. M. ÐWeed Alert! New Invasive Weeds in California.Ó CAL EPPC Proceedings. 1997.
Renne I.J. et al. ÐGeneralized Avian Dispersal Syndrome Contributes to Chinese Tallow Tree (Sapium sebiferum Euphorbiaceae) Invasiveness.Ó Diversity and Distribution 8:285-295. 2002.


Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? D

none No closely-related species.


Sources of information:

Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual, Higher Plants of California. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA


Section 2: Invasiveness
Question 2.1 Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance
in establishment?
U
Describe role of disturbance:

Has invaded disturbed areas in California. It is able to establish and grow under a variety of soil conditions, is shade tolerant, can grow in saline conditions, can tolerate flooding and drought, grows quickly, fruits at a young age, and produces large amounts of seed. The seeds are also dispersed into natural areas by birds.


Sources of information:

Anonymous. ÐChinese Tallow Tree, Pop-corn Tree Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.Ó Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Aquatic Plant Management, Research and Technical Services, April 1990.
Anonymous. ÐThis Beauty is a Beast.Ó Aquatic Plant Quarterly Summer 1992.
DiTomaso J.M., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished.
Jubinsky G., Anderson L.C. ÐThe Invasive Potential of Chinese Tallow-tree (Sapium sebiferum) in the Southeast.Ó Castanea 61(3): 226-231. 1996.


Question 2.2 Local rate of spread with no management? U
Describe rate of spread:

In Davis, CA, trees doubled in the north Davis ponds in less than 10 years.


Sources of information:

Carla Bossard, St. Marys College and John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, UC Davis, personal observations.


Question 2.3 Recent trend in total area infested within state? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe trend:

In 1998 there were over 100 trees along the American River Parkway and could easily apread downstream. The tallow tree is also located in the Consumnes River watershed, Redding, and the San Francisco Bay delta region.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso J.M., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished.
Randall, J. M. ÐWeed Alert! New Invasive Weeds in California.Ó CAL EPPC Proceedings. 1997.


Question 2.4 Innate reproductive potential? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe key reproductive characteristics:

Anonymous. ÐThis Beauty is a Beast.Ó Aquatic Plant Quarterly Summer 1992.
Anonymous. 1990 ÐChinese Tallow Tree, Pop-corn Tree Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.Ó Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Aquatic Plant Management, Research and Technical Services
Bruce K.A., et al. 1997. ÐIntroduction, Impact on Native Habitats, and Management of a Woody Invader, the Chinese Tallow Tree, Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.Ó Natural Areas Journal 17(3): 255-260.
DiTomaso J.M., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished.
Jones R.H., McLeod K.W. ÐShade Tolerance in Seedlings of Chinese Tallow Tree, American Sycamore, and Cherrybark Oak.Ó Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 116(4): 371-377. 1989.
Jubinsky G. ÐChinese Tallow, (Sapium sebiferum).Ó Dept. Enviro. Protection, Florida. Publication # TSS-93-03. 1995
Rogers, W. E. and E. Siemann (2003). "Effects of simulated herbivory and resources on Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum, Euphorbiaceae) invasion of native coastal prairie." American Journal of Botany 90(2): 243-249.


Sources of information:

The tallow tree is planted as an ornamental and historically used as a honey plant for beekeeping and introduced as a possible oil crop tree. Widely planted as a street tree. It has been a popular ornamental because it grows quickly and under many conditions.


Question 2.5 Potential for human-caused dispersal? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

The tallow tree is planted as an ornamental and historically used as a honey plant for beekeeping and introduced as a possible oil crop tree. Widely planted as a street tree. It has been a popular ornamental because it grows quickly and under many conditions.


Sources of information:

Anonymous. ÐThis Beauty is a Beast.Ó Aquatic Plant Quarterly Summer 1992.
Bruce K.A., et al. ÐIntroduction, Impact on Native Habitats, and Management of a Woody Invader, the Chinese Tallow Tree, Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.Ó Natural Areas Journal 17(3): 255-260. 1997.
DiTomaso J.M., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished.
Jubinsky G. ÐChinese Tallow, (Sapium sebiferum).Ó Dept. Enviro. Protection, Florida. Publication # TSS-93-03. 1995


Question 2.6 Potential for natural long-distance dispersal? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Seeds are dispersed by birds and along waterways. Movement of seed through waterways and by birds make dispersal over 1km possible.


Sources of information:

Cameron G.C., Spencer S.R. ÐRapid Leaf Decay and Nutrient Release in a Chinese Tallow Forest.Ó Oecologia 80:222-228. 1989.
DiTomaso J.M., Healy E. Weeds of California and Other Western States. As yet unpublished.
Jubinsky G. ÐChinese Tallow, (Sapium sebiferum).Ó Dept. Enviro. Protection, Florida. Publication # TSS-93-03. 1995
Jubinsky G., Anderson L.C. ÐThe Invasive Potential of Chinese Tallow-tree (Sapium sebiferum) in the Southeast.Ó Castanea 61(3): 226-231. 1996


Question 2.7 Other regions invaded? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify other regions:

The tallow tree is now naturalized in the southeastern US from the coastal plain of South Carolina south to Florida and west along Texas. The southeastern US is in the same latitudes as eastern Asia, where the tallow tree is native. May have similar habitat types. The tallow tree was introduced to the US in the 1700s. In California, it occurs in the Sacramento Valley and San Francisco Bay Region. Behavior elsewhere suggests it could be a problem in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Has invaded areas similar to the Delta that are not yet invaded in California.


Sources of information:

Bruce K.A., et al. ÐIntroduction, Impact on Native Habitats, and Management of a Woody Invader, the Chinese Tallow Tree, Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.Ó Natural Areas Journal 17(3): 255-260. 1997.
Jubinsky G. ÐChinese Tallow, (Sapium sebiferum).Ó Dept. Enviro. Protection, Florida. Publication # TSS-93-03. 1995
Jubinsky G., Anderson L.C. ÐThe Invasive Potential of Chinese Tallow-tree (Sapium sebiferum) in the Southeast.Ó Castanea 61(3): 226-231. 1996.
Randall, J. M. ÐWeed Alert! New Invasive Weeds in California.Ó CAL EPPC Proceedings. 1997.


Section 3: Distribution
Question 3.1 Ecological amplitude/Range? C Reviewed Scientific Publication

Sources of information:

Question 3.2 Distribution/Peak frequency? D Observational
Describe distribution:

Percent of infested areas in California is unknown.


Sources of information:

Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less No
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter Yes
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. Yes
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually Unknown
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years No
Viable seed produced with both self-pollination and cross-pollination Unknown
Has quickly spreading vegetative structures (rhizomes, roots, etc.) that may root at nodes No
Fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere No
Resprouts readily when cut, grazed, or burned Yes
Total points: 4
Total unknowns: 2
Total score: B?

Related traits:

Worksheet B - Arizona Ecological Types is not included here

Worksheet C - California Ecological Types

(sensu Holland 1986)
Major Ecological Types Minor Ecological Types Code?
Marine Systemsmarine systems
Freshwater and Estuarine lakes, ponds, reservoirs
Aquatic Systemsrivers, streams, canals
estuaries
Dunescoastal
desert
interior
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrub
coastal scrub
Sonoran desert scrub
Mojavean desert scrub (incl. Joshua tree woodland)
Great Basin scrub
chenopod scrub
montane dwarf scrub
Upper Sonoran subshrub scrub
chaparral
Grasslands, Vernal Pools, Meadows, and other Herb Communitiescoastal prairie
valley and foothill grassland
Great Basin grassland
vernal pool
meadow and seep
alkali playa
pebble plain
Bog and Marshbog and fen
marsh and swamp
Riparian and Bottomland habitatriparian forestD, < 5%
riparian woodlandD, < 5%
riparian scrub (incl.desert washes)D, < 5%
Woodlandcismontane woodland
piñon and juniper woodland
Sonoran thorn woodland
Forestbroadleaved upland forest
North Coast coniferous forest
closed cone coniferous forest
lower montane coniferous forest
upper montane coniferous forest
subalpine coniferous forest
Alpine Habitatsalpine boulder and rock field
alpine dwarf scrub
Amplitude (breadth): C
Distribution (highest score): D

Infested Jepson Regions

Click here for a map of Jepson regions