A. vilmoriniana is a tree that often attains heights of 20 metres or more with a crown spread of 15 metres. The new shoots occasionally have small green spines. The leaves are quite similar to those of A. altissima, but they are darker in colour and pendulous. The rachis is finely pubescent and is a consistent deep red in colour. It is also longer, being up to 1 metre long on pollards, and with more leaflets, usually numbering 23 to 35, though they have sometimes as few as 20. The leaves are pubescent beneath. The bole itself occasionally will have sprouts emerging from it.
The downy tree of heaven was first grown in the United Kingdom in 1897, but it is rarely found in gardens within the British Isles. It is occasionally encountered in plant collections as well as gardens in the south of England. Specimens are also present as far north as the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.
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