tree of heaven

A tree of heaven
by the Euston Road.

Trees of London

Tree of Heaven

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              It is is easy to confuse the tree of heaven with the ash as they look similar, and there are many examples of both in London. The tree of heaven, which originates from China, grows at a slightly different angle and has a slightly wider berth. The thing which distinguishes it from the ash the most is that it has teeth jutting out towards the base of its leaves or leaflets since, the leaf is actually the arrangement of leaflets in the case of this pinnately compound type tree (see tree identification section). The bark is similar to the ash, the nuts are similar, the formation of leaves is similar; it is just those teeth jutting at the base of the leaflets that makes the difference. Well, a true expert could go on and talk about the shape, but we are looking for the easier methods.

tree of heaven leaflet

Note the marked tooth towards the base.

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Other Trees at Euston

whitebeam      horse chestnut      Turkey oak

ash      red oak      fig


Tree Identification

Ailanthus altissima:

pinnately compound; in proportion to size of tree, but some quite large; leaflet has noticable tooth towards the base which distinguishes the tree from the ash.

tree of heaven leaf
samaras from tree of heaven

nuts/fruit: samaras which grow in clusters.

tree of heaven flowers

small in clusters; June/July

tree of heaven bark bark:
smooth, vertical ridges.
grows to 25 metres; tall, sometimes round crown.
general: originates from the far east.

Towards the east side of Euston Square.
It is the only tree on the pavement on
the Euston Road. It is divided from the
rest of the trees by the railing.
All the trees marked in red,
are trees of heaven.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©