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Chinese Tallow

Scientific Name

Triadica sebifera (L.) Small (ITIS)

Common Name

Chinese tallow, popcorn tree


Sapium sebiferum (ITIS)

Native To

China and Japan (Meyer 2011)

Date of U.S. Introduction

1700s (Meyer 2011)

Means of Introduction

Introduced as an ornamental and to be cultivated for seed oil (Miller et al. 2010)


Crowds out native species (McCormick 2005)

Chinese tallow
Image use policy

Chinese tallowtree foliage


Photo by Cheryl McCormick; The University of Florida

Find more images


  • The Silent Invasion: Nonnative Trees Threaten American Forests

    • Jan 23, 2024
    • USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

    • Nonnative tree species are gaining a foothold in forest ecosystems. These trees compete with native species for resources, sunlight, and space. Tree of heaven and Chinese tallow tree are the most invasive tree species in the South, according to a recent study which uses Forest Inventory & Analysis data to create an indicator of nonnative tree regeneration success and can help prioritize the species and locations for treatment. 

  • Chinese Tallow Leaf Litter Negatively Affects Frogs

    • May 12, 2022
    • USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

    • Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) is a nonnative, invasive tree whose decaying leaf litter alters water quality and the microbial community in the wetland habitats. This negatively impacts the lifecycle of semi-aquatic species like frogs.

  • APHIS Announces Availability of an Environmental Assessment on Agents to Biologically Control Chinese Tallow

    • Jan 21, 2021
    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture‚Äôs (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is accepting comment on an environmental assessment (EA) that addresses the environmental impacts of releasing the insects Bikasha collaris and Gadirtha fusca to biologically control the invasive Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) in the contiguous U.S.

      APHIS is making the EA available to the public for review and comment for thirty days starting on Jan 21, 2021. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before Feb 22, 2021 at:

      *USDA has re-opened the comment period and will consider comments received by April 23, 2021. To comment, go to

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status


Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
Federal Government
International Government
State and Local Government