Chinese Tallow Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Anaheim, Ca
Question by quilttoni
August 10, 2008
I can not seem to find information regarding the Chinese Tallow Tree. The city of Anaheim recommended it for my front yard. There are cement area's and I am concerned about the root syster. Any information would greatly be appreciated.

Answer from NGA
August 10, 2008


Chinese Tallow tree is Sapium sebiferum. Chinese tallow is a popular ornamental because of its fast growth, resistance to pests, and attractive foliage which becomes yellow to red in the fall. It is a small to medium-sized tree that grows to about 20 feet tall. Its leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous and as broad or broader than long. The flowers are called inflorescences and they are very attractive to bees and other insects. The inflorescences are relatively long branches (2-8 inches long) bearing small, stalked white flowers. The fruit is three-lobed with one seed in each lobe. Seeds are covered with vegetable tallow, a white waxy coating.

New growth on Chinese tallow begins as early as February and flowering lasts from March through May. Fruit ripens from August to November. The tree is deciduous, losing leaves during the autumn. Young trees establish a taproot system and are able to withstand extended periods of drought. Because the roots tend to grow down rather than out, it makes a good sidewalk or landscape tree.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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