tree of heaven

tree of heaven

Rapid-growing tree (Ailanthus altissima) in the quassia family (Simaroubaceae), native to China and widely naturalized elsewhere, with several known varieties. Because of its resistance to pollution, freedom from insect predation and disease, and ability to grow in almost any soil, the tree of heaven is planted as a yard and street tree in urban centres. It grows to 60 ft (18 m) or more, producing long, compound leaves that emit an unpleasant odour when bruised. Male trees bear flowers with unpleasant scents. Female trees produce winged fruits which are tannish orange when ripe.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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