Triadica sebifera Chinese tallow tree
Photo by Flickr user harum.koh

Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera)

This plant is invasive in the following regions:

  • CVCentral Valley
  • SCSouth Coast
Map of regions (click to enlarge)
map of California regions


Chinese tallow tree is a fast-growing deciduous tree with broad leaves and spikes of greenish-yellow flowers without petals. Tallow tree was brought to the US from Asia for the solid fat found in the tree’s seeds that are used medicinally and to make candles, soap, cloth dressing and fuel.

How does Chinese tallow tree spread?

Chinese tallow tree reproduces by seed. Flowing water, birds and other animals disperse the seed of this tree, creating new invasions.

Where is Chinese tallow tree found?

Chinese tallow tree is a popular ornamental tree, and has only recently been found invading streamside and wetland areas in California. It has spread rapidly in those areas.

What problems does Chinese tallow tree cause?

When Chinese tallow tree escapes cultivation, it is capable of form dense stands that crowd out native vegetation. Chinese tallow tree leaf litter decomposes quickly and significantly alters the composition of soil nutrients in invaded areas.