Tung Tree
Tung Oil Tree - China Wood Oil Tree - Kalo Nut Tree
Aleurites fordii, Syn: Vernicia fordii
Euphorbiaceae (Spurge) Family

Tung Tree is also known as China Woodoil.

Plant is a medium sized shade tree cultivated for the commercial product, tung oil. Height is 25-30 feet; spreading branches and a loose crown. Preferred habitat is rich slopes, well-drained soils, margin of fields and pastures. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are large and palm-like (leaf veins originate from a central point); oval; no teeth and no lobes; long leaf stalks.

Flowers are cup-shaped, born in large panicles; white streaked with red or orange; five petals. Flowering occurs in the spring.

Fruit is a leathery thick-shelled nut.

The tree was imported from China as a bumper crop and installed in the southeast United States because it can withstand the poorest of soil. Large orchards were created during WW-II; a time when its oil found great commercial value as a machine lubricant used for servicing aircraft engines. Following WW-II the demand fell sharply and the orchards of Tung trees gave way to more profitable harvests; such as pecan. Other sources of machine oil were found in linseed, peanuts and castor.

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