Triadica Species, Candleberry Tree, Chicken Tree, Chinese Tallow Tree, Florida Aspen

Triadica sebifera

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Triadica (try-uh-DEE-kuh) (Info)
Species: sebifera (seb-EE-fer-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Triadica chinensis
Synonym:Triadica sinensis
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:




30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama

Auburn, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama(2 reports)

Foley, Alabama

Headland, Alabama

Jones, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Pell City, Alabama

Semmes, Alabama

Wetumpka, Alabama

Citrus Heights, California

Clovis, California

Igo, California

Los Angeles, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Palo Alto, California

Red Bluff, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

Upland, California

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Deland, Florida

Deltona, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(3 reports)

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Miccosukee Cpo, Florida

Middleburg, Florida

Milton, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Port Richey, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida(2 reports)

Sarasota, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Tucker, Georgia

Abita Springs, Louisiana

Coushatta, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Lutcher, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana(3 reports)

Vacherie, Louisiana

West Monroe, Louisiana

Youngsville, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Gulfport, Mississippi

Long Beach, Mississippi

Stumpy Point, North Carolina

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Conway, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Anahuac, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Brownwood, Texas

Burleson, Texas

Clute, Texas

Colmesneil, Texas

Conroe, Texas(2 reports)

De Leon, Texas

Deer Park, Texas(2 reports)

Garland, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Leander, Texas

Midlothian, Texas

Mont Belvieu, Texas

New Caney, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Spring, Texas

Van Alstyne, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 4, 2019, wigswest from Birmingham, AL wrote:

I've been familiar with this plant for decades having grown up in New Orleans. I now live a little north of Birmingham Alabama in zone 7b.

I never saw this plant around here - until a few years ago. Now I see little volunteers coming up all around.

Is it possible it's starting to extend its range northward?


On Sep 27, 2017, aprilb251 from Semmes, AL wrote:

This tree may be a great shade tree, and have beautiful fall color, but it is devastating to the gulf coast environment. Please do not contribute by planting, or keeping one of these trees in your yard. It was originally brought here to be a crop tree from China, but unlike the trees in China, they put more energy into growing large than producing the valuable seed oils like they do in China. They may make great honey, but so do many other trees. Many of those trees are being wiped out by the Tallow.

One Tallow produces over 100,000 seeds that can grow in almost any soil condition (wet, dry, loamy, sandy, acidic, alkaline) making its growth unstoppable. It is destroying natural habitats for many species. It has become the 4th most common tree in Louisiana. Cut down any Tall... read more


On Jul 2, 2016, reyntc from Middleburg, FL wrote:

These trees are beautiful. They also make great honey, biodiesel, wax, and green manure. In China they are used to make black ink and herbal medicine. The berries from this tree are the second highest ranking for making biodiesel yet states are condeming then so we cannot grow them. I do not understand our country sometimes...


On Aug 11, 2015, oayers from Lafayette, LA wrote:

I've had a chicken tree at a back corner near my house for years. I would saw it down for years because I knew it was weed, then I got lazy and decided to let it grow. It got tall and I got concerned because it is a weed tree so I had it cut down by a friend but still have stump. When the stump sprouts, I took them off. Then came the sprouts that I've never had before a little distance from the stump. Now I got really concerned. I wanted the stump removed but then I read these comments and got really frightened. There's a locally owned store in my town, Lafayette, LA, Chastant Bros who have that product Fertil-lome's Brush n Stump killer. It has the triclopyr in it. The chain stores don't have the product. A lady there told me to drill holes in my stump n paint my stump and saplings for m... read more


On Apr 22, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This species has naturalized in 10 southern states and been declared a noxious weed in at least four of them (FL, TX, LA, and MS).

It is spreading rapidly through the forests of the Gulf coast, and represents a threat to the diversity of natural habitat.

A good ove... read more


On Apr 21, 2015, TallowLover from Stockton, CA wrote:

I love the Chinese Tallow that I planted in my front yard 20 years ago. It completely shades the afternoon sun and I have not used my air conditioner in 15 years - this in northern CA!

I am a concerned about it this spring as it has more dead twigs on it than usual. I fear it is stressed from the drought. My yard is now landscaped for the drought and I suspect I'll have to give the tree a little more water to keep it healthy. Any other suggestions? Also, we don't get a cold snap in the fall, any suggestions for getting the leaves to change while still on the tree? They usually change beautifully after falling to the ground. I've grown several types of flowers under it over the years and never had a problem with it being toxic.


On May 23, 2014, trackinsand from mid central, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

unfortunately, this tree does grow on our property. that's about all i can say. :-(

we recently cleared an area down by our lake and there were a zillion small sprouts all coming from a larger tree. the man who cleared the property on his tractor wouldn't brush hog it down as he is highly allergic to it (his past unhappy experience) and it was too large. phooey.


On Mar 27, 2014, CypressCynthia from Slidell, LA wrote:

Extremely invasive. You will have them pop up everywhere and they have very long roots that are nearly impossible to pull. Don't plant it!!!!


On Jun 2, 2013, trudyh from North Kingstown, RI wrote:

One of these trees was in the yard when I bought my house in Northern California. It was an attractive, pest-free tree in the decades that I lived there. The small shoots it sent within its drip line were easily controlled by mowing. Unlike the photos here, the leaves turned an attractive light yellow in fall. I know it's supposed to be an invasive, but in my experience it is a delightful, easy to control tree.


On Dec 23, 2012, natlover from Auburn, AL wrote:

I'm curious. In the Fall issue of Alabama's Treasured Forests, an article titled "Invasion of the Popcorn Trees" contained the statement, "Most states have now declared tallow trees a noxious weed and in some states it is illegal to possess them." In what states is it illegal? Does Dave know, and if not does anyone else know?


On Aug 23, 2012, tracyb433 from Winter Haven, FL wrote:

I have one that is planted on the property line of my neighbor and I think she thinks it is mine, but it's really hers. I am not telling her because she has cut down every other tree in her yard. And we are in central Florida! I like it for its shade. Although it does sprout where ever it lands, it is easily pulled up. I have some dislikes. When it blooms with its popcorn seeds, they stink. The leaves are gorgeous burgundy in the fall, but leave stains on concrete if they get damp or wet. It provides just the right amount of billowy shade which I love. It does not interfere with plants growing nearby, other than trying to seed in them. I love growing things, so if this tree had shown any hint of affecting nearby plants, it would have been long gone.


On Aug 14, 2012, kbrehm from Red Bluff, CA wrote:

When we bought our first home in Red Bluff, Ca there was a Chinese Tallow growing in the yard near the house. It was about 5 years old. When we moved the tree was 15 years old. I put in a perennial bed beneath it and never had a problem with anything not growing under it. It also grew about 15 feet from the house and very close to the underground sprinkler system pipes with no ill effects. Not knowing any better, I laid a 3 foot wide brick on sand walk way over the roots with no problems. I never saw any suckers or roots above ground. I would find a few seedlings each year in areas that were watered but they pulled up easily. I think the lack of problems I experienced with this tree is because our climate is very dry and hot during the growing season. The tree does not seem to thr... read more


On Jul 1, 2012, Mawbear from Volente, TX wrote:

I have 2 of these trees in my front yard. Now they are what are considered a, "trash tree", in that they have to have many little dead pieces cleaned out of them every year if the wind doesn't blow strong enough to bring them down. I how ever have not experienced any from root sprouts, and one of these trees is approximately 33 yrs. old. I just pluck any sprouts that come up from the seeds and those happen all during the year. The roots are not big or lumpy above the ground like some are reporting. I also have a native pecan tree that came up from a pecan off a tree in our side yard, that is only about 5 feet from both of these trees, and it has never had a problem growing right along with them. Every spring they are a drone with honey bees when they are in full bloom, which is good for ... read more


On Jun 19, 2012, llyn60 from Cut and Shoot, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

My thoughts exactly lemonboy7. Just mow. I have one of these trees that came up a few years ago in the back of my yard. It has multiple trunks and it is absolutely beautiful. I haven't had all these problems people are talking about here. Only recently have seedlings come up here and there near the tree, but they are in an area that is mowed all of the time. It hasn't been hard to control at all. I have other trees and shrubs growing near it that are doing well. I just don't know what to think of all of these negative posts...


On Nov 6, 2011, Suzy_Bee from Spring, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This tree was in our front yard when my husband bought the house 11 years ago. The roots are quite large and extensive and have undermined the driveway and walkway to the house.

My sister, an arborist at LSU, advised me not to use a stump grinder on the roots (which we were tripping over), that we'd soon have a forest of saplings. She was right.

Ways to eradicate the tree, from the Nature Conservancy, Florida (2008)

For trees: Basal bark application or cut stump treatment of herbicide. Use a basal bark application of a 15% solution of triclopyr ester product to trees < 10 inches in diameter or a 20% solution to trees > 10 inches in diameter. For cut stump application, apply either a 20% solution of triclopyr ester product, a 10% solution of tr... read more


On Aug 28, 2011, jimtomczak from Mobile, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I live in Mobile Al. 3 of these fall beautys came up from seed about 25 years ago. Last year I started my first decorative garden. Using the Popcorn tree as shade .From just one tree I've dug 75# of root and in the 1.75 year I think i've pulled up 75# of thir seedlings They say the seeds are viable up to 40 years . What a mess. Do not fall for the fall colour get them out of your yard!!! put the seedlings on your driveway and cook till well-well done Then BBQ them If anyone has a better recipe please share with everyone. Jim Tomczak Mobile Alabama


On May 1, 2011, katekatekate from Sarasota, FL wrote:

I bought a house with two of these trees. There is also one in a neighbor's yard. It is HIGHLY invasive and it will suppress the growth of plants around it. I find new shoots of this tree all around my yard, daily. It also spreads rapidly to wild areas - by way of water and birds - and out-competes native forest growth - which might be OK for suburban birds, but not for natural wildlife.

If you live in Florida, this is on the noxious plant list and should be eradicated wherever it is found. It does have pretty leaves in the fall and is not a bad looking tree, but it would be much better to talk to your extension agent about finding something just as lovely that is native.


On Apr 23, 2011, HostaHost from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

When we recently moved into our new home, we inherited three Chinese Tallow trees. A friend, upon laying eyes on the trees warned us to get rid of them without hesitation. After researching the trees, I realized I could not allow myself to aid and abet this type of tree's notoriously unrestrained spread.
This winter, while the trees were dormant (no sap to worry about in dormancy), we cut them down. I poured Ferti-lome's Brush Killer/Stump Killer product on the freshly-cut stumps. While a fairly pricey product, it works miracles. We are not experiencing any new growth from the stumps at this point, but daily I am pulling tens of dozens of these saplings from the sprouted seeds that overwintered in the nearby earth. Additionally, the surface roots sprout on occasion, but I ... read more


On Jan 6, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Just horrifying beyond belief... The leaves contain a toxin (or toxins) that kills off other plants that try to grow near the adult tree. So this tree creates its own toxic mulch around itself, to which it is of course immune, thus helping it to grow with little competition from other trees' roots. In a few hundred years, I believe there may literally not be any other trees left in North America aside from the Chinese Tallow. The forests and swamps here in south Louisiana are teeming with them, and there is absolutely zero way to even slow them down. Mature ones are growing unchecked right next to the boardwalk in Jean Lafitte State Park! I'm an optimistic person by nature, but This tree was surely bioengineered in an ecoterrorist lab in some rogue nation. (A ranger at JLSP told me ... read more


On Sep 3, 2010, SuzyG35 from Fresno, CA wrote:

I thought I'd follow up on the information I posted almost exactly two years ago. Although I'd never dare say that I got rid of those roots permanently, no new sprouts showed up at all this last summer. That's really encouraging.
I took most of the roots out by hand, soaking the hardpan and using hand tools to get under each one, following the forks to the end. It took months to get them all.
There were some places where a root went where I couldn't follow it, such as under the garage. I left about a foot where I could get to it and bored holes in it. Then I dripped concentrated Roundup into each hole, let it sit for a while, and then covered it back up. I watched for sprouts and, if any appeared, I repeated the process. Eventually I started finding dead wood rather than live... read more


On Jul 19, 2010, AmyMorie from Green Cove Springs, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Forever pulling this in N FL...
according to wiki,
"It is useful in the production of biodiesel because it is the third most productive vegetable oil producing crop in the world, after algae and oil palm. This species is considered to be a noxious invader in the U.S."

If you can't beat it, burn it as biofuel! Too bad we don't have a special yard waste collection to make this useful


On Jul 4, 2009, MCC4RTHY from Youngsville, LA wrote:

its a nice plant with plesant smelling blossoms and providesshade for my house, and food for a many diffrent birds in my area. If it is an eye sore in your area then I say every tree for its self but to demonize this plant in not at all fair.


On Jun 29, 2009, tyler70006 from New Orleans, LA wrote:

One nice feature is the beatifully shaped leaves and it is a fast grower. Other than that I hate this freakin tree. I'm constantly pulling up seedlings, the parent tree isn't even close to my house. The branches to the tree are very weak and will fall with very little wind and the leaves and seeds make a huge mess. Do yourself and your neighbors a favor and cut it down.


On May 30, 2009, MerryPlanter from Long Beach, MS wrote:

This is a horribly invasive tree, almost impossible to eradicate. The person who cut two down for me didn't even want them for firewood.

I've since been told you have to get the tap root to get rid of the tree, but haven't been able to do it yet. Meanwhile, I cut off the branches that grow from the stumps every few months.

The Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation site lists the popcorn tree as one of MISSISSIPPI'S TEN WORST INVASIVE WEEDS.

The "popcorn" is the seed. If you are trying to get rid of one, don't let it go to seed.


On Apr 21, 2009, bsgardens from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Yes, this Tree will spread like crazy & is poisonous. But the birds & squirrels love the seeds & the younger trees can be twisted & knotted into any shape you want even topiaried.


On Sep 4, 2008, galatea35 from Fresno, CA wrote:

Beautiful fall color, fast growing, shaded the house and front path -- I thought I had a winner. Wrong. The roots lifted and cracked the concrete path. They went completely under the garage and driveway. I had the tree removed and, supposedly, the roots were ground. Within a month I had a forest sprouting across the front yard and even on the other side of the garage. The tree service came back and ground more roots (as well as my sprinkler system). Now there are even more sprouts. These aren't seedlings -- they are coming from roots, some of which are as big around as my arm.

Even as the sprouts wilt from a dose of Roundup or brush killer, new growth is appearing from beneath the dying leaves.


On Aug 5, 2008, rickyt from Springfield, LA wrote:

This is a trash tree in South Louisiana they are everywhere. So I suggest don't plant them because you will never get rid of them!


On Jul 8, 2008, dogwoodtree from Plain Dealing, LA wrote:

BE WARNED!!!!! Last year my husband was cutting this tree down, wiped his brow with the back of his gloves, and we ended up in the emergency room. The milky sap from the tree (transported by his gloves) ended up in his eyes and he was in terrible pain for 2 days with intense burning. The emergency room was not familiar with treatment for Chinese Tallow contamination, therefore Poison Control was contacted. This substance can cause eye damage and possibly PERMANENT BLINDNESS!!!!!!

Thank goodness he recovered fully, but we will never have a tallow tree again!!!!


On Jun 10, 2008, gdub from Sacramento, CA wrote:

I had this tree in my yard here in Sacramento and finally removed it. It grew into a 60ft. tall mutant with a trunk 3 1/2ft. in diameter. It throws stamins all over in the spring, hard sharp seed husks in the fall and white rock hard nuts in the winter- an absolutely messy trashy tree and that's the good part. It has heaved my mow strips and patio with its surface running roots and pops up suckers every where there's a root, it broke my irrigation system too. I tried to kill it by girdling, but alas to no avail, I bored ten 2" holes at a 45 degree angle around the circumference of the trunk and poured straight Roundup into them- no luck. Finally poured staight ammonia in the holes and that killed the crown. WATCH OUT for the odor and sap from this evil tree, it made my nose and sinus' ble... read more


On Jun 3, 2008, Bella136a from Boerne, TX wrote:

Okay this is a beautiful trash tree that is taking over.
The seeds are oil -bio diesel, the wood fuel for fire, the job of harvesting, cutting etc more jobs here in the USA.

just my thots


On May 28, 2008, rntx22 from Puyallup, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have many names for this "trash" tree, none of which I can say here. The only good thing about it is the nice fall color it gets. You cannot drive anywhere in my town without seeing forests of these in every field. The field behind our house had tons of them, and when they started to develop the area, the trees were cut down. Unfortunately, this caused millions of offshoots to creep up in our backyard. Huge runners with thick trunks along the ground have fromed everywhere, and even 15 years later we are still having to cut the little trees down. AAAAAHHHH


On Apr 17, 2008, lphopper from West Monroe, LA wrote:

We have one that is about 3 1/2 years old & I love how it looks, it makes a good shade, very fast growing tree,pretty fall colors. I don't know anything about the blooming yet b/c it's not old enough. My husband transplated it from his fathers yard to ours b/c I had always loved how they looked,we have had a great experience with it!


On Dec 14, 2007, steadycam3 from Houston Heights, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I live in an area of Houston where about a fourth of the yards have very large and old trees of this species. They are so beautiful that I wanted one for my own yard and searched all the vacant lots and alleys and rights of way for a volunteer. I finally found one on a vacant lot which I know to have been vacant for 15 years. There were no suckers anywhere, none coming up from seed. However, I have pulled up thousands of ash trees from my pots, beds and lawn. I lived in Dallas before I moved here and the ash tree in the front yard took all the water from the lawn and water as much as I did, it only served the tree. This ash tree also broke the side walk and oak trees thru out my neighborhood now, break the side walk. Is the objection to this tree that it is non native? We have many live o... read more


On Nov 6, 2007, EmDooey from Deer Park, TX wrote:

We have a very old Chinese tallow in our backyard. Over the years we have seen a proliferation of this tree the likes of which we've never seen before. We can drive many roads/ freeways around the Deer Park, LaPorte, Pasadena area and see miles of this tree have taken over and drowned out other native species of tree. I recently did a google search of it and was not surprised to find so many others feel the same way. I simply cannot understand the love for this tree even if it is considered beautiful-it spits things off all year round, clogging up our rain gutter system like crazy and constantly requiring upkeep to maintain the thousands upon thousands of its attempts to create more. If we were ever to buy another house and it had one of these, the very first thing we'd do is get rid of it... read more


On Sep 4, 2007, yedith from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

I just moved into a new house, and while investigating the yard found a beautiful American Beauty bush that a huge tallow tree was busily choking. We start cutting down this weekend!


On Sep 1, 2007, debkarmit from San Juan Capistrano, CA wrote:

When planting trees on my property in So. Orange County, CA, I wanted an East Coast feel (fall color in trees). The tallow tree seemed to fill the bill, and one was planted about ten years ago in a large planter next to the driveway. Last year, I noticed that the brickwork adjacent to this planter was rising at the point close to the tallow tree. I had found the tree to be very messy and also had a lot of dead wood. The final straw came when my sprinkler system was damaged by roots from this tree. It was cut down in February, 2007, and the surrounding roots to 5' out removed. Since then, the entire planter sprinkler system has gone out, and I have spent the past 6 months removing roots that were as large in diameter as the tree trunk itself! Yesterday, I noticed that two new trees w... read more


On Jun 11, 2007, DLYoung from Sacramento, CA wrote:

We live in Sacramento and dearly love this tree. We needed shade from the west exposure and it has done the trick. It most certainly has not invaded our yard, we have no lawn in the area where it is planted, more of an English garden affect. The one thing we have noticed is that in past years the tree has been very dense and sunlight has not come through. This year there is quite a bit of dead wood in the tree and it is not as dense as previous years. Is there something we can do - should we prune it? I am going to have all the dead wood removed but I would like to know what to do to keep this from happening again in the future. Does it need to be fertilized? Help.


On Mar 12, 2007, 39503 from Gulfport, MS wrote:

A tree you don't want on your property. Even if you control the seedlings near the tree you can't control the seeds the birds transport. A little research on what this tree has done and you won't be bragging about owning one. This tree is about as welcome as fireants in the southeast.


On Dec 15, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Chinese Tallow Tree, Candleberry Tree, Chicken Tree, Popcorn Tree, Florida Aspen Triadica sebifera is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invaive and noxious in Texas.


On Aug 31, 2006, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The absolute worst thing that ever happened to the ancient Katy Prairie of Texas.


On Jul 13, 2006, lemonboy7 from New Orleans, LA wrote:

We have had these trees growing in our backyard here in New Orleans for well over 30 years. We have never had any of the multiple seedlings grow to any real height because when the yard is mowed the seedlings are cut down and do not grow back for that season. In other words they are easy to control. Some seedlings I do pull out by hand when they are very little, but the have never "taken over" our yard because we mow it. There is a new seedling that is now about 3 feet tall which came up along the fence about 10 feet from the parent tree. Since hurricane katrina we lost most of our trees around the house. The tallow trees did not get killed in the flood which I am very happy about.So I now intend to allow 2 of the young trees to grow on opposite sides of the backyard and replace the shade ... read more


On Apr 23, 2006, BamaBelle from Headland, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Kill it quick before it multiplies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is one of those plants that are probably some sort of terrroist plot. I think people who don't like America must have sent this plant over here so we would be so focused on trying to eracicate or at least control it, that we would lose sight of other things and our country would collapse from within while we were occupied with this beast.

Seriously, though, it is a nasty invasive plant that will take over your yard...and your neighbor's yard while it is at it....and since it can reproduce by putting up new growth from the roots, it is almost impossible to get rid of. True, the leaves are very pretty. In an area where we have very little leaf change in the Fall/winter, it provides northern transplants with some foliage t... read more


On Feb 14, 2006, droughtlover from Igo, CA wrote:

An invasive species that is capable of forming pure stands, crowding out native vegetation. This tree has invaded isolated riparian areas in central California. The litter may be toxic to fish.
One was planted in my yard when I bought my house. Volunteer seedlings come up everywhere. I'm worried about the health of my fish in a water feature subjected to this tree's litter. Will sucker profusely from disturbed roots. Reportedly difficult to kill after cutting down.
Too bad; the tree has grown nicely, is pretty in leaf, good fall color, nice shape in winter.
I PLAN ON CUTTING MINE DOWN. I don't want to contribute to an invasives problem in my nearby riparian areas (which are already overrun by the obnoxious Himalayan blackberry).

Don't plant this tree in... read more


On Jun 19, 2005, purplepetunia from Savannah, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

the tree came up from seed beside the fence joining my neighbor's yard. After it had gotten very large and a real nuisance, he cut it down to the top of the fence. Sprouts continue to come from the trunk ( very thick). We have been trying to find a way to get rid of it. It is hard to get to from the neighbor's yard due to other plants that have grown in front of it. I was told recently that if I clip each sprout and spray full strength round up (do not dilute) it will prevent the sprouts from returning. I will start on this tomorrow. My brother has two trees in his yard, he likes them, my sister in law hates them. I have pulled up many seedlings.


On Jan 20, 2005, jon_plant from Ocala, FL wrote:

Nocturnal flying squirels will feed on the Tallow's seeds. Very neat to watch.


On Jan 19, 2005, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have made girdle cuts to many of these trees in the woods with a chainsaw and then sprayed full strenth brush-b-gone in the cuts and they are still trying to come back. They will even sucker from the roots. Everyone I mention this tree to hates it also. However, nobody has any idea that it's from china. They just think its a native "popcorn" tree because there is so many of them around.


On Jan 2, 2005, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Every measure should be taken to totally ERADICATE this tree from Florida.


On Jan 2, 2005, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

Granted, these trees are beautiful in the Fall. The colors change gradually and put on a show. When I planted mine I was told I would be sorry. Well, I AM SORRY
NOW but it is too late! These plants are very invasive and difficult to remove once established. Beware---do not plant this tree or YOU will be sorry!!!


On Jan 1, 2005, Missyinbama from Wetumpka, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

If I could give this tree a million negatives I would. Yes, it is pretty, that is why people allow it to continue its invasive nature and don't care what the consequences are. I have gone into small patches of forests in the south where the understory was taken over by "popcorn trees," especially near riversides. They are not as pretty in the spring as native flowering dogwoods, redbuds, azaleas, and other naturally occurring species. As an owner of 5 acres, I have to battle these invasive species constantly (and in neighboring wooded areas I am losing.) I'd rather have my neighbors throw dead fish in my yard than plant these trees.


On Dec 31, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Attention fellow gardeners!

The reason why you may not notice any seedlings popping up in your yard is because they are popping up miles away from the tree instead. With some invasive species, all it takes is a little wind to disperse seeds but with this one, birds and animals carry the seeds a considerable distance from your yard. That's precisely why this tree has become a problem and if you have one, every day you wait until cutting it down is another day it's causing damage to the ecosystem.

The fall color is lovely, for sure. Even down here in Florida. But there are other alternatives that grow fast, provide fall color and any other benefit you think the chinese tallow can offer.


On Aug 23, 2004, Frog0902 from Fairhope, AL wrote:

I have always loved the popcorn tree and I yearned to have one in my yard. Me and my husband found a beautifully shaped one in the woods close to our house so we dug it out and brought it home. We had to snap the taproot in half due to the length of it (VERY LONG!!) We planted it in the corner of our yard and at first, I thought it may not survive. All of the leaves fell off and it looked pretty pitiful. But, it survived and it is so pretty. I love the branching on this tree. We live in a neighborhood where there are hardly no trees. We wanted some shade in our yard and since the popcorn tree is a fast grower, it was no time before we had shade. We have had the tree for around 3 years. The tree itself is about 4 1/2 years old. I have only found 5 seedlings in our yard. I'm sure that as tim... read more


On Aug 21, 2004, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Alas, we cut down our beautifully shaped tallow tree today. It was planted in a flower bed, and seedlings were too numerous to contend with. The tree was about 5 years old and had wonderful branching. The older the tree became, the greater the number of seeds it produced. We've been finding them far from the tree also and reluctantly decided it was time to call it quits. All I can say is, You can't judge a book by its cover!


On Jul 9, 2004, spaceman_spiff from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Wow, I never realized there were such negative feelings about this tree. (And illegal to sell in FL?!?!) I bought one at a yard sale in St. Petersburg, Florida several years ago in a little pot for 75 cents. Didn't even know what it was called then. Took it home and kept it in a gallon-sized pot for a while. (Noticed that when in a pot it needs lots of water or it will wilt and drop leaves, but usually recovers after being watered). When I moved to a new home I took it with me, and ended up planting it in one corner of my yard.

That was 5 years ago. It now is about 25 feet tall, and although I find many seedlings in my yard (not sure if from seeds or roots), there are nowhere near as many as the thousands upon thousands of maple seedlings I have to pull up or mulch-ov... read more


On Jun 14, 2004, mcandken from Winter Garden, FL wrote:

We live near Orlando and have 2 tallow trees in our back yard (we didn't plant them- they were here when we bought the home 5 years ago). We contacted a tree service to have them trimmed and received the bad news that it will cost us $525 to remove the trees and grind the stumps. We were advised that if they are not removed they could damage our home's foundation as well as our sprinkler system. Of the 3 services we called, none of them will simply trim the trees- they must be removed. We were even told that some of the roots from this type of tree can grow as long as a football field!!! The roots of these trees are part of the lawn now, which make mowing a real challenge.


On Jun 7, 2004, SandPiper from Foley, AL (Zone 9a) wrote:

The "PopCorn Tree" is a native of China. It was brought to the USA first to Charleston, SC in the 1700's. Obviously it has faired well here as has spread to all coastal states from NC to TX to AR. And all the way to Tampa in FL. I think it is sad that such a beautiful tree is being considered illegal to have or sell in some areas, tho I do understand that it has become a threat to these areas. I have two beautiful large ones in my back yard and have enjoyed the many different stages it goes thru from the fragrant catkins, the greenish unripe fruit, the white ripe fruit that resembles popcorn, from which the tree gets it's name, to the beautiful fall display of red leaves. perhaps research will develope a way to contain this invasive tree and save it's reputation. I, for one, certainly hop... read more


On May 22, 2004, Janey from Deltona, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

We had two Chinese Tallow trees, both of which have been cut down due to the thousands of seedlings growing all through lawn, and beds. The trees had a pleasant fragrance in spring, and beautiful colors in fall, but it came to be a real chore pulling out the many, many seedlngs each year. As was said, there are a lot of other trees that are pretty wich would cause less problems.


On May 21, 2004, sandiegoca from San Diego, CA wrote:

Our tree provides shade and a spectacular show of color in the fall. It also provides a disturbing odor (similiar to cat urine) when in bloom. Is there any way to retard the bloom without destroying the foilage?


On May 21, 2004, TamiMcNally from Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Beautiful tree, but it is invasive in south Florida. It reseeds, but that is easy to control. The biggest issue is all the new trees growing from the roots. When I cut down the new tree, another grows from the original root. When I cut back the original root, more trees pop up on the other side of the original tree.


On May 3, 2004, DaisyJen from Pensacola, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Would you believe that I bought one of these trees to plant in Montgomery, Ala. 30 years ago? Now since I have been in gardening for awhile, I know not to tolerate these nice trees because they are very invasive and are harmful to native species. The time to pull up these trees if when you can recognize it by the leaves. Don't wait too long. They have a long taproot that is hard to pull up. These trees are beautiful in the fall, but there are other trees just as beautiful and not invasive.


On May 2, 2004, bayouposte from Bossier City, LA (Zone 8a) wrote:


Fast-growing, lovely in the fall, but truly invasive. The one in the front yard doesn't present much of a problem because the seeds have fewer places they can survive; however, the one in the back sends seeds into all of my beds (which cover most of the yard), and I can pull hundreds - and I'm not exaggerating - in a day without making a dent. Have pulled 15-20 per pot from my containers.

They present an overwhelming problem in our area...and yet, when I see them in their fall glory, I'm still impressed.


On May 1, 2004, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant spreads easily, but is easily controlled. We have many wild birds that winter here to eat the seeds. Robins come by the thousands. Also Yellow Rumped Warblers. The fall color is great, the blooms smell very good. It makes a very beautiful tree, can be pruned to shape. It has spread over much ugly waste land in this area. It is widely hated, but most is rote reasoning (they heard from a neighbor). It is less likely to spread than most Elms, and for the first year a simple lawn mower handles most growth. We have Ash, Oaks, Pine, Cedar, American Elms, Cedar Elms, and wild Honeysuckle all holding their own easily. Great tree.


On Nov 27, 2003, BastetMau from Citrus Heights, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

The Chinese Tallow Tree is on the Red Alert list for the Invasive Plant Council of California. If found it is to be reported to the California Invasive Plant Council, County Agricultural Commissioner, or California Department of Food and Agriculture. According to the IPC web site "It has the potiential to spread explosively" especially in the wetland environment.

That said, it is interesting to note that I see it in city plantings through out the Sacramento valley and East Bay area.

I have one which is Bonsai Material. (I have no idea if it will survive the process). The other tree I have is in a container on a patio. I have had no trouble with the trees as container trees, and they have not formed seeds. They are beautiful in the fall, gorgeous shades o... read more


On Nov 10, 2003, plantzperson from Zachary, LA wrote:

This will grow where other trees will not. It was the only tree in our yard when I was a child in south Lousiana (U.S.) It has wonderful fall colors of red, purple, gold & many variations of these. However in my area, they are taking over areas such as along rights-of-ways, railroads, ditches, old pastures, in parks, etc.

They are extremely invasive & take over from our wonderful natives. My neighbor has a very large, tall one and it sends seeds all over the whole neighborhood; they float easily down the property lines into the drainage ditches. It seems that every single one germinates and I pull hundreds each year just from my yard alone. I was not aware that they are a wildlife food. The roots also come up to the surface, making it difficult to cut the lawn. There is de... read more


On Nov 9, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Adamantly, strongly, determinedly negative. This species is invasive to the extreme and is causing considerable damage to Louisiana's native flora. Being a euphorb, its sap is toxic and therefore this plant has no predators in our environment. I'd also read that studies are under way investigating toxins in the fallen foliage which inhibit germination of other plant species' seeds. I personally feel that every means necessary should be taken to eradicat this species from the continent.


On Nov 8, 2003, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I agree with both the previous reviews. We have had a large one removed from our yard. It was with mixed feelings, because the Pileated Woodpeckers enjoyed eating the seeds for weeks after the leaves fell. I'm sure they planted plenty of the seeds with a healthy shot of guano.


On Nov 7, 2003, Apalach wrote:

This species is a serious threat to natural communities in the southeast from South Carolina to Florida and west to Texas. Chinese tallow forms dense thickets and monospecific forests out competing native species and dramatically reducing species diversity.

Possession of Chinese Tallow with the intent to sell, transport, or plant is illegal in Florida


On Apr 25, 2003, Nurafey from Polk City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

These trees are considered invasive, yet I have only seen two seedlings in my neighborhood, and there are four trees on the street. However, I have pulled up hundreds of Oak and Camphor seedlings.

These trees are fast growing and have a silver "sparkle" to the rounded leaves, when the wind blows, they are very pretty. They are one of the few trees in my area that have fall colour, the leaves turn red before falling off.

I recieved my two seedlings from the two neighbors that have the adult ones. I got them late in summer and they are about 1 1/2 feet high now (it's April.) They prefer sun, though I have them in shade and they are growing okay. I think they would have grown faster in the sun. I have mine in containers right now, as I plan to move soon, bu... read more