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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.

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