Chinese Tallow Tree
This tree has invaded natural areas in other southern states but so far has remained pretty controllable in North Carolina. However, it can invade undisturbed forests so if it does get out of control it may be a serious threat to native plant communities in forests. So, please keep your eye out for the Chinese tallow tree. It grows usually to a height of 30’ but can be as tall as 60’. The leaves (2 – 3” long) are heart-shaped. Twigs are green to light brown and have small brown dots on them (lenticels). Bark is reddish-brown. In the spring, the tree produces droopy spikes of flowers. Roundish fruits with lobes appear in the summer and open in the fall to reveal popcorn-like seeds.
Fact Sheet: Chinese Tallow Tree
Photo credit: leaves and flowers: Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org; Seeds: Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org, forest stand (understory): Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
Photo Credits: Guy Moorman