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Re: ChineseTallow (a rant from the exotic plants police)

On Thu, 2 Jan 2003, Julia Shields wrote:

> Please give the scientific name; I guess you were too upset at the
> mention of the tree to pause to think that someone might need it to
> avoid it. It sounds like something that nurseries might sell. A quick
> net search gave me no information on the name.

Sorry Julia, you're right. I've seen two scientific names used for it:
Triadica sebifera, and Sapium sebiferum. I've also seen at least one
source refer to it as Florida Aspen, even though the darn pest is about
as Florida-native as an elephant! In addition to this, Chinese Tallow, and
Popcorn tree, it also goes by Vegetable Tallow, White Waxberry, and
probably other names.

THat's one of the problems with invasive weed species, many are spread by
landscapers and gardeners and go by a wealth of different names. For
instance, I just heard from Gary Phillips about the Tung Tree, only to
find that it's the same thing we call here the Princess Tree, and other
folks know as the Royal Paulownia, Empress Tree, Dragon Tree, Foxglove
Tree... technically, Paulownia tomentosa; native to China and adjacent
parts of Asia; makes big Wisteria-like clumps of purple flowers.

Back to more direct discussion of birds, I haven't seen a single thing at
our feeders since the New Year started! Last bird of 2002 was, I think, a
Downy Woodpecker on the suet. The brush pile, greatly augmented by the ice
storm damage, has been alive with activity in 2003, though, as Rufous-
sided Towhees, White-throated Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, and Carolina
Wrens have been all over it. So anyone who has tree limbs still in your
yard, there are better uses for them than sticking them in the "yard
waste" container and putting them by the curb for pick-up! I've even
decorated ours festively with a few orange halves, no takers yet...

Good birding,


Joshua S. Rose
Duke University
Department of Biology (Zoology, R.I.P.)