Appreciation: Ailanthus altissima

Discussion in 'How's It Growing?' started by wcutler, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Vancouver, BC Canada
    This Ailanthus altissima is growing in the Shakespeare Garden, otherwise known as the lower rose garden or cherry tree garden. I don't have any history on it, or anything to say why it is growing here. The common name is Tree of Heaven; an alternate common name is Tree from Hell, as it suckers and seeds itself very easily. The area around the tree has been cleaned up recently - there was a lot of sucker growth last time I paid attention to it. It can be distinguished from walnut and other trees with compound leaves by the glands on the leaf margin near the stem.
    Ailanthus-altissima_StanleyParkRoseGarden_Cutler_20200814_140738.jpg Ailanthus-altissima_StanleyParkRoseGarden_Cutler_20200814_140827.jpg Ailanthus-altissima_StanleyParkRoseGarden_Cutler_20200814_140903.jpg Ailanthus-altissima_StanleyParkRoseGarden_Cutler_20200814_140947.jpg
  2. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    Palestrina - Rome (Italy)
    Allow me to introduce myself:
    My name is Ailanthus altissima, I am a woody plant also known as the tree of paradise; I can reach 20-30 meters in height, I have a dense, very branched crown and yellowish-white flowers gathered in long terminal panicles.

    My homeland is northwestern and central China. I was imported both in Europe and in the United States in the second half of the 1700s as an ornamental species with beautiful foliage and very fast growth; However, I soon revealed my tendency to spread spontaneously and to resist in any kind of environment. I was also brought to Europe as a host plant for the breeding of a caterpillar that was supposed to replace the silkworm threatened by an epidemic, but the attempt failed, leaving only me as a legacy.

    Today I am naturalized in many areas outside my original range, and in many of these areas I have become invasive also thanks to my ability to release substances into the soil that prevent the development of other plants in my vicinity. In Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Europe they are considered a very invasive species and therefore harmful for the natural environments; with my powerful roots, moreover, I damage infrastructures while with the leaves and the bark I can cause skin irritation.

    My diffusion is accomplished through two ways: I produce a lot of seeds - which fly very well even covering long distances - and I produce shoots from the roots and also from the stump, when I am cut.

    Trying to get rid of me is very difficult: only young plants can be eradicated and fruiting in female plants can be prevented. The cut, on the other hand, turns out to be counterproductive because it stimulates me to push back; it is therefore necessary to call an expert for the necessary interventions.

    To avoid the risk of re-rooting, my pieces must be placed in unsorted waste bags.
    Acerholic and wcutler like this.

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