Chinese tallowtree

Euphorbiales > Euphorbiaceae > Triadica sebifera (L.) Small
Synonym(s): Chinese tallow, popcorn tree, Florida aspen, chicken tree

Chinese tallowtree (popcorn tree) is a deciduous tree reaching 60 ft. (18.3 m) in height and 3 ft. (0.9 m) in diameter. Leaves are alternate, heart-shaped, 2-3 in. (5.1-7.6 cm) long with a long, pointed tip. Flowering occurs from April to June. The flowers are yellowish and occur on 8 in. (20 cm) long, dangling spikes. 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. Tallow tree invades wet areas such as stream banks and ditches but can also invade drier upland sites. Chinese tallowtree 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. Chinese tallowtree 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

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Twig(s)/Shoot(s); Tift County, GA
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Cheryl McCormick, University of Florida, Bugwood.org
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Bark;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Twig(s)/Shoot(s); September
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s); Developing flowers. Tift County, GA
Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Mark Atwater, Weed Control Unlimited, Inc., Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); Tift County, GA
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); fruit and waxy coated seeds
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Seedling(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Seedling(s);
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Tift County, GA
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); Sprouts at the edge of a field
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Stand;
Cheryl McCormick, University of Florida, Bugwood.org
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Tree(s); Fall color
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; fall foliage
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); fall color
Ronald F. Billings, Texas Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Dennis Teague, U.S. Air Force, Bugwood.org
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Tree(s);
Dennis Teague, U.S. Air Force, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • California - Invasive Plant Inventory
  • Florida - EPPC list
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Louisiana - Noxious Weed Law
  • Mississippi - Noxious Weed Law
  • Mississippi - 10 Worst Invasive Weeds
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Texas - Noxious Weed Law
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South


External Links


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