Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Ailanthus altissima

Higher Taxonomy
Family: SimaroubaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Shrub, tree; generally dioecious. Stem: occasionally thorny; bark often bitter. Leaf: generally alternate, simple, entire, or pinnately compound, leaflets subentire to toothed near base. Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, or flowers 1. Flower: unisexual, inconspicuous; sepals generally 4--5, generally fused at base, generally erect; petals generally 5, free, generally spreading; stamens generally 10, generally on disk, filaments often with a basal scale; pistils 1--8, ovaries superior, 1--2-chambered, 1-ovuled [if pistil 1, chambers generally 2--5, 1-ovuled], styles free or partly fused. Fruit: winged achenes or drupes [berry, nut], in clusters [not].
Genera In Family: 22 genera, 100 species: tropics, warm temperate; some cultivated. Note: Bark, leaves used traditionally to treat malaria, other ailments.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: AilanthusView Description 

Habit: Plant +- dioecious, with a few bisexual flowers. Leaf: generally +- odd-pinnate, ill-smelling when crushed, deciduous. Inflorescence: large panicle, terminal. Flower: calyx lobes 5--6; petals 5--6; stamens 10--12; ovaries very compressed, adherent near middle, styles +- free but twisted together. Fruit: 1--5, +- pendent, seed near middle.
Species In Genus: 5 species: southeastern Asia, Australasia. Etymology: (Moluccan: sky tree)

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle
Habit: Plant < 20 m; young parts +- glandular-puberulent. Leaf: 3--9 dm; leaflets 13--25, 8--13 cm, lanceolate, base generally +- truncate, with 2--4 teeth, each with a large gland abaxially. Inflorescence: 10--20 cm. Flower: sepals < 1 mm, petals 2--3 mm, spreading. Fruit: < 5 cm, linear or oblong.
Ecology: Disturbed areas, grassland, oak woodland, riparian areas; Elevation: < 1860 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoRO, NCoRI, CaRF, SN, GV, CW, SW (exc ChI), W&I, DMtns; Distribution Outside California: widely naturalized in temps; native to China. Flowering Time: Jun Note: Cult as street tree, fast-growing, spreading by seeds, invasive roots. Common near old habitations.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock
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botanical illustration including Ailanthus altissima


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock 2017. Ailanthus altissima, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 28, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 28, 2017.

Geographic subdivisions for Ailanthus altissima:
KR, NCoRO, NCoRI, CaRF, SN, GV, CW, SW (exc ChI), W&I, DMtns;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.