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Related to ailanthuses: genus Ailanthus


ailanthus (ālănˈthəs), any tree of the genus Ailanthus, native to the warm regions of Asia and Australia. Ailanthus wood is sometimes used for cabinetmaking and for the manufacture of charcoal. The leaves are a source of food for silkworms, and the bark and leaves are used medicinally. Females of a species called tree of heaven, native to China, are widely grown in European and American cities because of their attractive foliage and their resistance to smoke and soot; the male flowers, however, have a disagreeable odor. Ailanthus is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Simaroubaceae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of trees of the family Sim-aroubaceae. The leaves are alternating, intricate, and nonparipinnate. The blossoms are small and contained in paniculate racemes. There are about ten species in southern and eastern Asia and in Australia. In the USSR three species are cultivated, including the Ailanthus altissima, or the Chinese ash. It is a fast-growing tree cultivated in the European USSR (primarily in the southern Ukraine), in the Caucasus, and in Middle Asia. It grows well even on dry and stony soils. The wood is used for construction, woodwork, paper production, and fuel. In China, ailanthus leaves are fed to caterpillars of the ailanthus silkworm.


Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 4. Moscow and Leningrad, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.