Ailanthus altissima at Roath Mill Gardens

Ailanthus altissima 0

Ailanthus altissima
March 2015

Ailanthus altissima 1

Ailanthus altissima
mid May 2015

Ailanthus altissima 2

Ailanthus altissima
mid July 2015

Ailanthus altissima 3

Ailanthus altissima
late October 2015

Grid reference ST 19840 77977
Common name Tree of heaven
Origin North China
Deciduous Yes
Status Wales Champion 2013
Height 14M 1988 (R & V Smith)
Height 17.5M March 2015
Girth 242cm 1988 (R & V Smith)
Girth 320cm February 2015
Reference 130

This tree is on the eastern boundary of the Gardens, adjacent to Waterloo Road. It is the last remaining of a row of Ailanthus altissima originally planted along this fence-line. In mid summer it flowers and therefore is a male tree.

Ailanthus altissima bark

Ailanthus altissima bark
March 2015

Ailanthus altissima flower

Ailanthus altissima flower
mid July 2015

Ailanthus altissima leaf

Ailanthus altissima pinnate leaf
early August 2015

General tree description

Ailanthus altissima is a tall, fast-growing tree reaching heights of 30 metres. It has smooth, dark grey bark and huge leaves, 30 to 60cm or more, pinnate with up to 20 pairs of leaflets. They emerge pink but mature to dark green. The flowers are yellowish green or cream plumes appearing in mid summer. Ailanthus altissima is dioecious, with male and female flowers being borne on different individual trees. Male trees produce many more flowers then females, making the male flowers more conspicuous, and they emit an unpleasant odour while flowering. Female trees have huge bunches of fruits similar to ash-keys, each fruit having a seed at its centre. The seeds are initially green and ripen to red in late summer.