Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University


Ailanthus altissima

Leaves are alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound with 13-20 leaflets bearing a pair of black tipped glands at the leaf base, which is often lobed.Twigs are very stout, usually curved upwards at the tips and with a semi-circular leaf scar and light brown pith. Bark is gray and smooth. Fruit is a single bright yellow to brown samara with the seed in the center. Form is up to 15 m (50 ft) in height, and is very fast growing. Tree-of-heaven has naturalized throughout the U.S. in open, disturbed areas.  It is common on the side of highways.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

To view examples, click on the thumbnail below: