Tree of heaven

Ailanthus altissima

Tree of heaven

Tree of heaven

Legal Status: Unwanted Organism - BNZ
Status in New Zealand: Not in New Zealand
Organism: Land plants

Other Common names: Tree from hell, Laquer tree, Copal tree, Varnish tree, Ailanthus, Rotting carrion tree, Baked sewage tree, Kerosene tree


Tree of heaven is a fast-growing deciduous tree. It has compound leaves composed of smaller alternating leaflets, and yellow-green flowers. All parts of the tree have an odour that is similar to peanuts or cashews.


Tree of heaven is a prolific seed producer that grows rapidly. It has an aggressive root system and produces toxins that prevent other plant species establishing.

What to do

Contact your regional council to determine the status of this species and responsibility for control and/or advice on control.

Page last updated: 20 March 2009