The Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera), was once-popular deciduous ornamental tree that can be found lining driveways or in parks in many regional areas.
Unfortunately, Chinese tallow has escaped cultivation to form dense thickets on roadsides, creek banks, pasture boundaries and bushland. It is fast-growing and extremely hardy, and is able to alter the chemical composition of the surrounding soil and waterways which is harmful to both native flora and fauna.
Chinese tallow (also known as Sapium) must not be sold in this region, however existing plants continue to naturalise into the surrounding environment and along waterways.
Chinese tallow tree can be a tree to 15m, but commonly reaches 6-10m tall. It has rough grey bark, becoming woody and grooved with age. Leaves are heart shaped with smooth edges, dark green in colour but changing to yellow and red in autumn.
Flowers occur in green-yellow spikes at the ends of branches, forming round, green seed pods which split open to reveal 3 white seeds. Plants will also sucker from the roots when the adult plant is cut down, forming dense thickets.
Chinese tallow is a priority weed on the North Coast. It must be eradicated when detected but can reshoot vigorously when cut. Follow-up control is essential. It cannot be sold or traded in this region.
Further information and control options are detailed in the NSW WeedWise app, which is free to download, or on the website here: NSW WeedWise. If you find this weed on your property, Council’s Biosecurity Officer is happy to provide advice to help you bring this nasty weed under control.