Amur Corktree

Phellodendron amurense
Rutaceae (citruses or rues)

A medium-sized tree with a broad-spreading, rounded crown and dark green foliage.

Leaves opposite, pinnately compound, up to 14 inches long, with 5–11 leaflets that are 4 1/2 inches long, elliptical, with an acute tip; upper surface dark green, lower surface lighter. When bruised, leaves smell something like turpentine.

Bark: With age, becomes uniquely ridged and corky.

Flowers May–June; in erect clusters of small yellow or yellowish-green flowers, male and female flowers on separate plants.

Fruits clusters of pea-sized fleshy, round berries, green but maturing to black in October, containing 5 seeds each, persisting into winter.

Height: 30 to 45 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
This hardy species adapts to a wide variety of soil types, withstands heat and drought, tolerates cold and resists pests. These characteristics make it attractive for landscaping, but please don't plant it. The qualities that make it survive well also contribute to its invasive nature. The female trees, especially, can be highly invasive.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Potentially statewide.
Considered invasive in many states, but not yet in Missouri. It is basically free of pests and adapts to many soil conditions as well as pollution and drought. The male and female trees are easily distinguished in the fall, when female trees have clusters of black berries. Old trees with massive branches and attractive bark develop a sculptured look. A poor choice as a street tree, because of its spreading, low-branching habit.
Human connections: 
In addition to its use as a shade and landscape tree in America, this plant has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine. It has proven itself invasive in the northeastern United States and in Illinois, and has shown invasive tendencies in St. Louis.
Ecosystem connections: 
It's bad if this plant starts displacing our native trees. Oaks and hickories, for example, provide important, nutritious nuts that help wildlife survive winter, but Amur corktree provides berries sweet with sugar but with far less nutritional value. As corktrees increase, wildlife will decrease.
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