Chinese Tallow Tree

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Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera)

It’s called the popcorn tree. The chicken trees. The Florida aspen.

The Chinese Tallow Tree, or Triadica sebifera, is mainly known for its invasiveness in the United States and its tremendous reproductive potential.

Introduced in the United States from China in 1776, the plant is mainly placed for its unique ornamental qualities, including colorful, autumnal foliage, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Chinese Tallow Tree, at mature age, can annually produce an average of 100,000 seeds, which are then spread by birds and water.

“The species causes large-scale ecosystem modification by replacing native vegetation thereby reducing native species diversity that, in turn, has a negative effect on wildlife,” according to the NRCS. “The ability of this species to drastically modify natural landscapes has earned it a spot on the Nature Conservancy’s list of "America’s Least Wanted -The Dirty Dozen."

Once established, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate. The Chinese Tallow Tree can withstand a vast array of habitats including riverbanks, freshwater and saline soils, and can tolerate the full sun or complete shade and floods, according to texasinvasives.org.