One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tall large-leaved deciduous tree that is widely grown as an ornamental or shade tree. Native to Asia and Australasia, it has been naturalized in North America and central and southern Europe.
Genus Ailanthus, family Simaroubaceae: several species, in particular the tree of heaven
- ‘Barberry, knotweed, ailanthus, and the brilliant Euonymus known as burning bush are just some of the horticultural immigrants that continue to out-compete many of our indigenous species.’
- ‘He'd describe his love for this tree that grew all over North Philadelphia, the ailanthus - something I'd always considered a big weed.’
- ‘If you're not on friendly terms with them, you could print out The Monday Garden article on ailanthus and stick it under their front door.’
- ‘There won't even be an ailanthus tree and a broken fountain in the back yard.’
- ‘We see that all the time here, as what starts as a few ailanthus become a stand of solid ailanthus.’
Modern Latin, from French ailante, from Ambonese ailanto, literally ‘tree of heaven’ (the ending being influenced by names ending with -anthus, from Greek anthos ‘flower’).
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