Ailanthus altissima

Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: A. glandulosa Desf.

Common names: tree-of-heaven; Chinese sumac; paradise-tree; copal-tree

Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven) is a tree (family Simaroubaceae) that is widely but discontinuously distributed in California. It was introduced as a landscape ornamental but escapes gardens and spreads by seeds and creeping roots that produce many suckers. It is most abundant along the coast and in the Sierra foothills, primarily in wastelands and disturbed, semi-natural habitats.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate

Cal-IPC Assessment

Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

  • Dedon, M. F., M. E. Fry, et al. (2010). Pacific Gas and Electric Company's use of Safe Harbor agreements to enhance habitat for endangered species in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cal-IPC 2010 Symposium. Ventura, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
  • Dempsey, J. and W. Elliott (2005). Invasive plant control at California State Parks in the northern Sacramento Valley. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
  • Heath, M., K. Moore, et al. (2005). Trees and shrubs discussion group. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
  • Hunter, J. C., J. C. Sterling, et al. (2003). The abundance and distribution of non-native woody species in Sacramento Valley riparian zones. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
  • DiTomaso, J. and G. Kyser (2002). Trial of several herbicides and application techniques for control of Ailanthus altissima, Upper Putah Creek, Yolo County. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2002. Sacramento, CA.
  • Kelly, M. (2001). Results of basal bark application of Garlon4 on Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven). California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2001. San Diego, CA.
  • Butler, E. and S. Britting (1998). Mapping and control of weeds in the American River Parkway. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '98. Ontario, CA.
  • Jackson, N. E. (1996). Control of exotic weeds with Roundup herbicide: A survey of projects around the world. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium. San Diego, CA.
  • Tellman, B. (1996). Stowaways and invited guests:How some exotic plants reached the American southwest. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium. San Diego, CA.

Other Ailanthus altissima Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • CalFlora - Distribution information based on submitted observations and herbarium specimens.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution information with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.
  • Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.