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Chinese tallowtree

Triadica sebifera (L.) Small

USDA PLANTS Symbol: TRSE6
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Tree


Synonym(s): Chinese tallow, popcorn tree, Florida aspen, chicken tree, white wax berry

Appearance
Triadica sebifera is a deciduous tree reaching 60 ft. (18.3 m) in height and 3 ft. (0.9 m) in diameter.
Foliage
Leaves are alternate, heart-shaped, 2-3 in. (5.1-7.6 cm) long with a long, pointed tip.
Flowers
Flowering occurs from April to June. The flowers are yellowish and occur on 8 in. (20 cm) long, dangling spikes.
Fruit
Three-lobed, greenish fruit are found in clusters at the end of branches. Fruit mature to black and then open to reveal the white wax covered seeds.
Ecological Threat
Triadica sebifera invades wet areas such as stream banks and ditches but can also invade drier upland sites. Triadica sebifera is a serious threat because of its ability to invade high quality, undisturbed forests. It can displace native vegetation as well as alter soil conditions due to the high amount of tannins present in the leaf litter. Triadica sebifera is a native of China and was introduced into South Carolina in 1776 for ornamental purposes and seed oil production.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Invasive Species Management Plans for Florida - University of Florida - Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service
Identification and Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas - University of Florida