This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Large trees, with odd-pinnate leaves, and terminal panicles of greenish-white polygamo-dioecious flowers. Calyx short, 5-cleft, the lobes imbricated. Petals 5, spreading, valvate. Disk 10-lobed. Staminate flowers with 10 stamens inserted at the base of the disk. Pistillate flowers with a deeply 2-5-cleft ovary, its lobes flat, cuneate, I-celled, and 2-3 stamens. Ovules solitary in each cavity. Samaras 2-5, linear, or oblong, membranous, veiny, I-seeded at the middle. Seed compressed; cotyledons flat, nearly orbicular. [From the Chinese name.]
Three species, natives of China and the East Indies. The following typical one has become widely naturalized in eastern North America.
A tree, 40°-90° high. Leaves 1°-3° long, petioled, glabrous, odd-pinnate; leaflets 13-41, opposite or nearly so, stalked, ovale or ovate-lanceolate, cordate or truncate and often oblique at the base, acute or acuminate at the apex, entire, or with 1-4 blunt teeth near the base; flowers greenish, about 3" broad, pedicelled, the staminate ones ill-scented; samaras twisted, nearly 2' long, very conspicuous on the pistillate tree in autumn.
Escaped from cultivation, along roadsides and in fields, spreading extensively by suckers, and seeding freely in some localities, southern Ontario to Massachusetts, Virginia and Kansas. Chinese sumac. Heavenward-tree. False varnish-tree. Devil's-walking-stick. Naturalized from China. June-July.