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Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Exotic Species:

tree-of-heaven Ailanthus altissima

Tree-of-heaven is a native of China that may grow to a height of 80 to 90 feet. This deciduous species has large, pinnately compound leaves that have from 10 to 25 or more sharply-pointed leaflets. The small, greenish flowers which develop in June are very foul-smelling on the female trees. These flowers develop into flat, papery fruits that are wind dispersed. This tree is a prolific producer of root sprouts. Though most common in disturbed habitats, such as in cities, this tree can invade streamsides and open lands such as prairies. Tree-of-heaven may be found statewide in Illinois.

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