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Tree of Heaven vs Staghorn Sumac

These trees are sometimes confused because of similar compound leaf shape and occurrence in the same disturbed habitats. They can be easily distinguished at any time of year by leaves, twigs, bark, and fruit.

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)

A fast-growing tree, native to east Asia, and widely introduced across North America. Common in anthropogenic habitats in much of its introduced range, less common in natural areas.
A thicket-forming shrub or small tree native to eastern North America; a pioneer species preferring rocky soils.
Leaflets have one to a few teeth at the base, but the rest of the leaflet margin is not serrated.
Leaflet margin is serrated along its whole length.
Young twigs and stems of leaves and leaflets hairless.
Young twigs and stems of leaves and leaflets densely covered in hairs.
Fruit a hanging cluster of dry seeds enclosed in flat structures to allow for wind-dispersal.
Fruit a dense, upright cluster of fuzzy red berries.
Mature bark gray with slightly irregular vertical strips of a lighter color. Trunk can reach many feet in diameter.
Mature bark dark gray or gray-brown, with horizontal strips (lenticels.) Trunk rarely reaches more than 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter.
Medium-sized tree, reaching 60-70 feet (18-21m) in height. Although can exhibit shrubby growth when young or in some habitats, trunk usually grows straight and tall and self-prunes, leaving branches only higher up.
Small tree or large shrub; rarely grows taller than 40 feet (13.7m) Trunk is shorter, branching frequently. Trunks usually lean.
Foliage emits a strong and often unpleasant nutty smell when crushed.
Foliage does not have a strong smell even when crushed.