Tree of heaven is a very undesirable import from China, perhaps better described by an alternative name, stinking sumac. It grows like crazy along roadsides or wherever it can access the sun. Over the last few years, ERG has eliminated over 5,500 tree of heaven from Beverly Shores roadsides, but it remains a threat as substantial numbers can be found on private property throughout town. It is a prolific seed producer that can in poor soils. Continuing vigilance is crucial to controlling this threat.
According to the USDA Forest Service, “Tree-of-heaven poses human health risks. The pollen can cause an allergic reaction. The sap causes a dermatitis reaction in some people, and prolonged exposure of broken skin to sap can have serious consequences. For at least one tree remover, exposure to tree-of-heaven sap on rope burns resulted in an elevated heart rate and chest pain that was severe enough to require hospitalization for several days ”