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Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-heaven, Hemelboom)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Sapindales > Family: Simaroubaceae

Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-heaven, Hemelboom) is native to China and Taiwan and grows as a tree to 17-27 m high. It has a long history It has been grown as an ornamental tree in South Africa but has now been given the status of a Category 3 invading plant. This means that you are only allowed to have this plant growing on your land if it was already planted in March 2001 and that it is not within 30 m of the 50 year flood line of a river, lake or any other water body. It is invasive is because it spreads by seeds as well as vegetatively from root sprouts. It also has a smelly chemical called ailanthone, which inhibits the growth of other plants.


Text by Hamish Robertson

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