Ailanthus altissima


Photo credit: ©Li Jiyuan
Ailanthus altissima
  • It has curved branches, and grows 6-10m high. It has smooth bark, with leaves up to 90 cm long. The flowers are small and yellows, with the male flowers having an unpleasant odour.

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • It is native to China.
  • It has since been introduced across the world to Australia, the United States of America, Canada, Algeria, South Africa, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mata, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • Highly adaptable to a variety of habitats. Shades out and outcompetes native species.

How could it get here?
  • It could get here due to human means like for ornamental plants or by dirty vehicular means. There is a possibility that it could get here via wind or water.

Is it found in Northern Ireland?
  • It is not present in Northern Ireland.

Methods for Prevention:
  • EU-level action includes a ban on sales and any planting or keeping, as well as eradication of any new populations to avoid the high costs associated with its management later on.
  • Report all sightings.
  • Know what you grow.
  • Don't swap cuttings with other people.

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
Current Legislative Position (Listed on 14 August 2019)
  • This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email:
Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland