Vernicia fordii

Tungoil Tree

In Stock: 3.28 lb (Total:3.28lb)
  • Vernicia fordii

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3.28 lb


Germination test:
Cut (Full Seed)
Seeds per lb:
3.28 lb
Collected in:
Crop year:
Min. hardiness zone:
Item ID:

Growing Info

Scarification: Soak in hot tap water, let stand in water for 24 hours, repeat process on seed that did not imbibe
Stratification: none required
Germination: sow seed 3/4" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed

Other: Germination tends to be slow, Germinates faster in warmer temperatures. 

Introducing the Vernicia fordii Tungoil Tree, a small to medium-sized deciduous tree native to southern China, Burma, and northern Vietnam. This remarkable tree is valued for the tung oil derived from its seeds, also known as China wood oil or nut oil. Traditionally used for lamps, tung oil is now commonly used as an ingredient in paint, varnish, and caulk, as well as a wood finish for furniture and other wooden objects. You can even use it as motor oil after processing to remove gums. Marco Polo even wrote a few lines about it in the 13th century, praising its adhesive properties for sealing ships.
The tung tree has been successfully introduced to Argentina, Paraguay, Thailand, and the United States for oil production purposes. Despite challenges, one of which was its failure to take hold in the dry climate of California, David Fairchild of the Department of Agriculture was able to introduce the tree with success in the U.S. Gulf States from Florida west to eastern Texas.
The tree is also prized for its lightweight and strong wood, which can be used as a substitute for balsa or basswood. However, it's crucial to note that the tung tree is poisonous in all its parts, including its fruit and seeds. While some parts were used for medicinal purposes in the past, just a single seed can be fatal, and other symptoms range from vomiting to diarrhea and slowed breathing. The leaves can also cause a rash similar to poison ivy.
With global production of the fruit estimated at almost 200,000 tonnes in 1980, the tungoil tree is undoubtedly worth exploring. Try out cultivars such as 'Folsom,' 'Cahl,' 'Isabel,' 'La Crosser,' and 'Lampton.' However, do note that the tree is listed as an invasive species in Florida due to increased competition from overseas, which has ended its cultivation in the United States. Visit our website and explore the hardy and valuable Vernicia fordii Tungoil Tree today.

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