Agri View: Another Invasive Plant

Dan Agri View


Chinese Tallow

Everett Griner talks about another invasive plant in today’s Agri View. Everett talks about the Chinese Tallow Tree. this tree has leaves which are toxic. The problem is currently from Texas to Florida, and is choking out our native trees. Everett also discusses possible solutions to eliminate this invasive plant, and also ask a very important question.

Another Invasive Plant

The following video about the Chinese Tallow is from the Aquatic and Invasive Plant Identification Series by the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants ( ) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Invasive Plant Management Section.

Video editor/videographer – Phil Chiocchio

The following additional information is provided by University of Florida/Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences

Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera) Management and Seed Biology by Heather VanHeuveln (PDF)


Characteristics that make Chinese tallow a popular ornamental are its fast growth rate, attractive fall color, and its ability to resist damage from pests. It is a small to medium-sized tree that grows to about 20 feet tall, but some specimens can reach 40-50 feet. It is freely branching with leaves arranged alternately on branches. The leaves have acuminate tips and entire margins, with broadly ovate leaf blades and rounded bases. The flowers of Chinese tallow are attractive to bees and other insects and are borne in spikes roughly 8 inches long. The fruit is a three-lobed capsule (0.5 inches) and seeds are covered with vegetable tallow, a white waxy coating. Fruit ripens from August to November.

Chinese tallow trees are deciduous with a strong, deep taproot. This enables young trees to withstand periods of drought. Seeds are spread by many species of birds, and moving water can also serve as a mechanism for seed dispersal.


Chinese tallow can invade a variety of habitats ranging from swampy to saline waters, and from full sun to shade situations. It is often found growing along roadsides, coastal areas, and streams. Larger specimens can produce up to 100,000 seeds that may be eaten and dispersed by birds, facilitating the spread of tallow. Regrowth often occurs from cut stumps or roots. Native species are crowded out once Chinese tallow becomes established. The leaves and fruit are toxic to cattle and cause nausea and vomiting in humans.