Sapium sebiferum

Chinese Tallow Tree
Chinese Tallow Tree
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Plant Type




Overall Mature Size


Mature Height & Spread

30-40′ x 25-35′


Full sun


Medium Water

Flower Color


Bloom Time


Special Features

Attracts Birds, Butterflies

Natural Growth Habit


Sunset Garden Zones

8, 9, 12-16, 18-21, H1

Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone


Fast-growing deciduous tree to 30-40’ tall x 25-35’ wide. This vigorous species grows as a multi or single-trunked tree. Multi-trunked specimens tend to develop a bushy, irregular crown as opposed to single-trunked trees which develop a more uniform, rounded crown. Attractive, medium-green, poplar-like leaves emerge in spring, flutter in the slightest of summer breezes and turn attractive shades of yellow, orange and purplish-red in the cool of fall. Long, greenish-yellow flowers spikes appear in spring, followed by dark-colored seed pods that mature and open in fall to reveal small grayish-white seeds. These seeds freely sprout in moist conditions, which should be considered when choosing a planting location as this tree is considered invasive in optimal conditions. It should also be noted that the branches of this species contain a milky sap that is poisonous. Well-suited as a lawn, patio or street tree that can tolerate regular watering, though the deep, tap-rooting nature of this species allows it to survive periods of drought as well. Performs best with regular watering in a fast-draining soil and prefers a full sun exposure. Resistant to oak root fungus.

USDA Zone: 8-10
Sunset Zone: 8, 9, 12-16, 18-21, H1

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