Tree of Heaven
What does the Tree of Heaven look like?
The Tree of Heaven is a large tree, growing up to 80 - 100 ft tall with a 40 ft crown. The leaves of the Tree of Heaven are pinnately compound. There are separate male and female plants. The male flowers are malodorous as well as the crushed foliage. Flowering in the early summer, usually in May, the Tree of Heaven produces a multitude of wafer-like seed clusters on female plants. Each tree can produce up to 300,000 seeds a year.
Where does the Tree of Heaven originate from?
The Tree of Heaven was originally imported from China in the mid 1700s. At the time, the Tree of Heaven was favored for being unique, offering shade, and most importantly for its capability to grow with poor quality soil and air. This was important during the height of the industrial revolution when the air quality in cities was poor due to acidic air pollution from coal did not allow for more refined trees to grow.
What makes the Tree of Heaven invasive?
Today, the Tree of Heaven has naturalized and has become quite invasive. It's rapid growth causes weak wood which has a tendency to break during storms. It is also malodorous and has a weed-like nature with a habit of spreading easily. Trees are usually not found standing alone, but instead are found with other trees creating a thicket.