How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Chinese tallow tree, Japanese tallow tree—Sapium spp.*
Family Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)

Plant Identification

Chinese tallow is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 40 feet tall.  Trees are shrubby and tend to form multiple trunks and suckers.  Foliage is dense and leaves are light green, roundish, and taper to a point.  Leaves can turn red, purple, yellowish-orange, or a mix of colors.  Small yellow flowers and grayish fruits are produced in fall. 

*Some species of Sapium are invasive weeds. Other types of plants may be better choices when planting.

Optimum conditions for growth

Chinese tallow tree can grow in most landscapes as patio trees, street trees, or in lawns, but it should not be planted near wetlands, rivers, or where native plants grow.  It does well in areas with full sun and requires moderate to regular amounts of water.

Tallow tree leaves
Foliage of Chinese tallow tree

Pests and disorders of Sapium spp.


Environmental disorders

Environmental disorders (continued)



Chinese tallow tree
Chinese tallow tree

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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