Common Name(s): Ailanthus, Tree of Heaven, Chinese Sumac
Scientific Name: Ailanthus altissima
Distribution: Native to China; widely naturalized worldwide
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 37 lbs/ft3 (600 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .44, .60
Janka Hardness: 1,420 lbf (6,300 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 11,060 lbf/in2 (76.2 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,623,000 lbf/in2 (11,19 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 6,680 lbf/in2 (46.1 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 6.1%, Tangential: 10.8%, Volumetric: 17.1%, T/R Ratio: 1.8
Color/Appearance: Ranges from a pale yellow to light brown, sometimes with brighter yellowish or olive-hued streaks. Overall appearance is similar to ash.
Grain/Texture: Has an open, porous texture and a decent natural luster.
Endgrain: Ring-porous; solitary and radial multiples; very large earlywood pores in a single broken row, medium to small latewood pores in a diagonal/tangential arrangement; parenchyma vasicentric, winged, and confluent in latewood; marginal; medium to wide rays, spacing wide.
Rot Resistance: No data available; reported to have good insect resistance.
Workability: Easy to work with hand and machine tools. Turns, glues, stains, and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Pricing/Availability: No data available.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In many locations it’s considered to be an invasive or pest species.
Common Uses: Cabinetry, turned objects, and paper (pulpwood).
Comments: Once viewed as an honored ornamental tree in China, resulting in it becoming widely naturalized throughout much of the world during the 19th century. Today, Ailanthus’ quick growth and hardiness have proved to be overwhelming for many ecosystems, and it is widely viewed as an invasive species.
Being ring porous, the wood itself has an interesting appearance with conspicuous growth rings.