Ailanthus highest, or Chinese ash



A tree up to 30 m tall with an even, slender trunk covered with gray-brown wrinkled bark. The sprawling openwork crown of ailanthus on its many branches has long, up to 60, and sometimes up to 90 cm, complex pinnate leaves with 15-25 pairs of ovate-lanceolate leaflets on short petioles. When touched, the leaves emit a peculiar unpleasant odor, hence the name “stinker”, which does not prevent southerners from willingly planting this tree. Especially when numerous long bunches of dry fruits hang from its branches. The fruits are oblong, irregularly rhombic flat lionfish, colored straw-yellow, sometimes reddish-brown with many shades. Although the lionfish are small, 3-5 cm long and 1 cm wide, there are a lot of them in clusters. The flowers are rather inconspicuous, small, yellowish-green, collected in paniculate loose inflorescence.


It grows in Central Asia, in the Caucasus, in the Crimea, on city streets and in parks.

Many chemicals have been found in different parts of ailanthus. The bark contains up to 12% of tannins, a small amount of alkaloids, saponins, sterols, etc. Quassin (a bitter substance) is found in the seeds.

The diversity of the chemical composition of the plant explains its diverse use in folk medicine in different countries and homeopathy.

In China, the bark, especially fresh, with antimicrobial activity, is used for dysentery and as an antihelminthic for tapeworms, and the fruits for hemorrhoids and as a means of regulating menstruation. In folk medicine of Central Asia, the leaves are used for Pendin ulcer (leishmaniasis).

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