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Zones 8, 9, 12-16, 18-21, 25-31, H1
Full Sun
Regular Water
Milky sap is poisonous if ingested

Triadica sebifera

Chinese Tallow Tree
Deciduous, Trees

This tree from China and Japan grows to 30–40 ft. tall and 25–30 ft. wide, with a dense, round or conical crown. Tends toward shrubbiness, multiple trunks, and suckering but is easily trained to a single trunk. In colder areas, branch tips may freeze back in winter, but new growth will quickly cover damage. Leafs out late in spring. Foliage is dense but flutters in the slightest breeze, giving tree an airy look. Light green leaves are roundish, tapering to a slender point; with moderate autumn chill, they can turn flaming red, plum-purple, yellow-orange, or mixed colors. For good color, select a tree while it is in fall leaf. Spikes of tiny yellowish flowers at branch tips are followed in fall by clusters of small fruits with a waxy grayish white coating.

Though this tree was once considered suitable for all landscapes, it is best not to plant it if you garden near wetlands, rivers, or native plant habitats. It has become a self-seeding pest in parts of the West. Away from areas where it can do damage, it’s an attractive tree for lawn, street, patio, or terrace; gives light to moderate shade. Good as a screen. Resistant to oak root fungus. 


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