Sapium sebiferum

Sapium sebiferum
Chinese tallow tree; popcorn tree
Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb. = Triadica sebifera (L.) Small

    Sapium sebiferum is a small to medium-sized tree that is native to China and Japan. It is naturalized in Arkansas and numerous other states in the southern US. Sapium is extremely invasive, generally invading into wetland areas and disturbed sites (it will also grow in mesic conditions). It has become a major ecological problem in southeastern Texas where countless hectares of coastal wetlands have been colonized by it. The seeds of Sapium are bird-dispersed. It is also capable of self-pollination and subsequent reproduction, and at times will sucker freely from the roots. These characteristics have allowed, at least in part, its extensive establishment in the flora of the southern US.

Figures for Sapium sebiferum:
A. leaves;
B-D. flowers [fig. D is a close up photograph of the pistillate (top) and staminate (bottom and yellow) flowers; Sapium is monoecious];
E-F. fruits;
G. mature fruit that has shattered to release the white seeds;
H-I. bark;
J-N. spontaneous seedlings and young juvenile plants (the plant in fig. L may be a small root sucker);
M. spontaneous sapling;
N. plant.

List of Naturalized Species
List of Spontaneous Species
List of Species with the Potential to Become Spontaneous or Naturalized
Dendrology Course


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