The chinaberry tree is an invasive species of tree common in the southeastern United States. They are often seen on roadsides and at the edges of forests where soil has been disturbed, but they will also grow in forests and upland marshes. Since the chinaberry tree reproduces quickly, shades out other trees and plants, and is poisonous to pets, livestock and humans, the trees are often cut down to prevent them from spreading.
The chinaberry tree can grow to be fifty feet high, with the trunk reaching two feet in diameter. The trunk and branches are covered with bark that is a deep brown and develops deep fissures as the tree ages. The twigs and stems from which the leaves grow often feature small white dots. The leaves themselves are compound, meaning that several leaflets grow from the same stem. The leaflets grow opposite one another on the stem and are dark green when mature, with a slightly lacy appearance.
The chinaberry tree flowers from March to early May depending on the local environment and the weather. The flowers are small and vary in color from lavender to white. A chinaberry tree's flowers grow singly, rather than in clusters. The flowers wilt and drop off in late May and are replaced in June by yellow-green clusters of berries, which ripen throughout the summer and fall. The fruit and seeds of the chinaberry tree are poisonous to humans, domestic animals, and livestock if eaten. In addition, pets and livestock may be poisoned if they eat the leaves or bark of the chinaberry tree.
Since the chinaberry tree reproduces most often from roots left in the ground, it is vital to dig up as much of the roots as possible when trying to remove a chinaberry tree. In addition, the stump should be coated with undiluted glyphosate concentrate to prevent it from sending up new shoots.