How far has Chinese tallow spread in the United States?

Chinese tallow has been cultivated in nurseries and sold as an ornamental tree used for landscaping; however, it is now classified as a nuisance species in some locations and can no longer be sold. It has separate pollen and seed-bearing flowers, and seeds can be spread by birds and by moving water.

It has spread from South Carolina all the way down to Florida, west into Texas, and has now been located in California. For more information about this invasive species, read Chinese Tallow: Invading the Southeastern Coastal Plain.

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What products can be created with Chinese tallow?

Tallow has been cultivated as a seed-oil crop in China for at least 14 centuries. Candles, soap, cloth dressing, and fuel are made from the tallow. Chinese vegetable tallow is a solid fat that is in the outer covering of the Chinese tallow seeds. The kernels produce an oil called stillingia oil that is used in machine oils, as a crude lamp oil,...

How do Chinese tallow's characteristics make it such an aggressive invader?

The invasive Chinese tallow tree has the ability to reach reproductive age in as little as 3 years and to remain productive for at least 60 years. It does not seem to have a preference for disturbed areas over undisturbed areas and can grow in a variety of places. It can also grow in both full sunlight and shade. It is more tolerant of salinity...
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Close-up of tapered, green leaves with small, round, three-lobed fruits
December 31, 2011

Chinese Tallow fruits, Triadica sebifera

Part of a floristics inventory that was conducted to identify and photograph the vascular plants occurring at Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Texas, from March 2011 to March 2012 by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) is one of the more common invasive tree species on

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Man wearing a mask and spraying trees with herbicide
December 31, 2011

Chinese tallow tree sprayed with herbicide, Triadica sebifera

Part of a floristics inventory that was conducted to identify and photograph the vascular plants occurring at Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Texas, from March 2011 to March 2012 by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) is one of the more common invasive tree species on

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Photograph of a tree with red leaves in front of green pine trees
December 31, 2011

Chinese Tallow tree, Triadica sebifera

Part of a floristics inventory that was conducted to identify and photograph the vascular plants occurring at Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Texas, from March 2011 to March 2012 by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) is one of the more common invasive tree species on

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August 26, 2010

PubTalk 8/2010 — Invasives and Wildfires in the West

New Crossroads in Science, Policy, and Management

by Julio Betancourt, Sr. Scientist and Desert Ecologist

  • Exponential spread of non-native grasses is a pressing environmental issue in American Deserts
  • Invasive grasses increased fuel continuity and large wildfires in desert scrub that previously experienced little or no