Plantae > Tracheophyta > Magnoliopsida > Malpighiales > Euphorbiaceae > Vernicia > Vernicia fordii

Vernicia fordii (tungoil tree)

Synonyms: Aleurites fordii

Wikipedia Abstract

Vernicia fordii, usually known as the tung tree (Chinese: 桐, tóng) is a species of Vernicia in the spurge family native to southern China, Burma, and northern Vietnam. It is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 20 m tall, with a spreading crown. The bark is smooth and thin, and bleeds latex if cut. The leaves are alternate, simple, 4.5–25 cm long and 3.5–22 cm broad, heart-shaped or with three shallow, maple-like lobes, green above and below, red conspicuous glands at the base of the leaf, and with a 5.5–26 cm long petiole. The flowers are 2.5–3.5 cm diameter, with five pale pink to purple petals with streaks of darker red or purple in the throat; it is monoecious with individual flowers either male or female, but produced together in the inflorescences. The flowers appear bef
View Wikipedia Record: Vernicia fordii


Allergen Potential [1]  High
Edible [2]  May be edible. See the Plants For A Future link below for details.
Flower Type [2]  Monoecious
Hazards [2]  The oil from the seed is poisonous; The leaves and seeds contain a toxic saponin; Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish;
Leaf Type [2]  Evergreen
Lifespan [3]  Perennial
Pollinators [2]  Bees
Structure [2]  Tree
Usage [2]  The seed contains up to 58% of a superior quick-drying oil that is used in the manufacture of lacquers, varnishes, paints, linoleum, oilcloth, resins, artificial leather, felt-base floor coverings, greases, brake-linings and in clearing and polishing compounds. Tung oil products are used to coat containers for food, beverages, and medicines; for insulating wires and other metallic surfaces, as in radios, radar, telephone and telegraph instruments; During World War II, the Chinese used tung oil for motor fuel. It tended to gum up the engines, so they processed it to make it compatible with gasoline. The mixture worked fine; The oil is very resistant to weathering; The oil is said to have insecticidal properties; The fruit contains between 14 - 20% oil, the kernel 53 - 60% and the nut 30 - 40%; The oil contains 75 - 80% a-elaeo stearic, 15% oleic-, ca 4% palmitic-, and ca 1% stearic-acids; Tannins, phytosterols, and a poisonous saponin are also reported; Trees yield 4.5 - 5 tonnes of fruit per hectare; Tung trees usually begin bearing fruit the third year after planting, and are usually in commercial production by the fourth or fifth year, attaining maximum production in 10 - 12 years. Average life of trees in United States is 30 years. Fruits mature and drop to ground in late September to early November. At this time they contain about 60% moisture. Fruits must be dried to 15% moisture before processing. Fruits should be left on ground 3 - 4 weeks until hulls are dead and dry, and the moisture content has dropped below 30%. Fruits are gathered by hand into baskets or sacks. Fruits do not deteriorate on ground until they germinate in spring;
Height [2]  23 feet (7 m)
View Plants For A Future Record : Vernicia fordii

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Mburucuyá National Park II   Corrientes, Argentina  
South Atlantic Coastal Plain Biosphere Reserve 20317 South Carolina, United States  



S. China to N. Indo-China; S. China, Hainan, Indo-China;

External References

USDA Plant Profile



Attributes / relations provided by
1Derived from Allergy-Free Gardening OPALS™, Thomas Leo Ogren (2000)
2Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
3USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
4Biological Records Centre Database of Insects and their Food Plants
5HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
6Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
7New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Plant-SyNZ™ database
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License