AILANTHUS (more correctly ailantus, from ailanto, an Amboyna word probably meaning "Tree of the Gods," or "Tree of Heaven"), a genus of trees belonging to the natural order Simarubaceae.
A silk spinning moth, the ailanthus moth (Bombyx or Philosamia cynthia), lives on its leaves, and yields a silk more durable and cheaper than mulberry silk, but inferior to it in fineness and gloss.
Other species of ailanthus are: A.
The Cynthia moth, Attacus cynthia, is domesticated as a source of silk in certain provinces of China, where it feeds on the Ailanthus glandulosa.
The ailanthus silkworm of Europe is a hybrid between A.
The so-called Ailanthus silk produced by Saturnia cynthia is woven at Lai-yang into a strong fabric; and the manufacture of the peculiar kind of wax obtained from the la-shu or wax-tree insect is largely carried on in the vicinity.
Merino sheep bred at the Cape of Good Hope have been found far better adapted for India than those imported from England; and while the Chinese variety of the Ailanthus silk-moth is quite hardy, the variety found in Bengal will only flourish in warm latitudes.
Among the noticeable Dicotyledons are the Myricaceae, Proteaceae, Laurineae, Bombax, the Judas-tree, Acacia, Ailanthus, while the most plentiful forms are the Araliaceae.