Ailanthus Ailanthus altissima
Family: Simaroubaceae (Quassia)
Branching: Alternate
Other names: Tree-of-heaven

This introduced tree is often found in cities, where it can sometimes spread like a weed.  It is usually quite distinctive.  Its twigs most closely resemble Coffee-tree or Smooth Sumac, but after a few individuals are seen, they become less confusing.  Black Walnut and Butternut can also look similar, but their chambered pith and naked buds will always separate them.

The stout twig of Ailanthus

Lateral bud.  

Young bark has a very distinctive look

Notice how Ailanthus lacks a prominent end bud

Pith is spongy and tannish orange.

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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