This species (which is native to southern Japan) has often been confused with Aleurites montana (native to southern China and Indo-China). It is distinguished from Aleurites montana by the glands at the apex of the petiole and the leaves with white or brown hairs at branching parts of the veins of the lower surface[
Aleurites cordatus (Thunb.) R.Br. ex Steud.
Aleurites japonicus Blume
Aleurites vernicifluus Baill.
Camerium cordatum (Thunb.) Kuntze
Dryandra cordata Thunb.
Dryandra verrucosa Royle
Elaeococca cordata (Thunb.) A.Juss.
Elaeococca vernicia A.Juss. ex Spreng.
Elaeococca verrucosa A.Juss. ex Spreng.
Common Name: Japan Wood-Oil Tree
The flowers, having fallen from the tree, floating downstream
Photograph by: Nobuya Fukuda
Vernicia cordata is a semi-evergreen tree that can grow 20 metres or more tall. The bole can be 60cm in diameter, and free of branches for up to 15 metres[
The tree yields a valuable oil that is often traded. It is cultivated for this oil in Japan and some other areas of Asia and perhaps also in Africa[
The oil from the seed is poisonous[
E. Asia - southern Japan, but widely cultivated in eastern Asia and parts of Africa.
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Vernicia cordata comes from southern Japan, where it experiences mild winters with fairly light frosts. It can be grown outdoors in temperate areas with hot summers and mild winters, it is also grown in subtropical areas and at higher elevations in the tropics.
Easily grown in a loamy soil. Requires a lime-free soil[
A drying oil obtained from the seed is used for waterproofing fabrics, treating woodwork, lighting, soap making, paints, varnish etc[
]. The seed-oil is used principally as an illuminant, for the lubrication of machinery, and for water-proofing fabrics[
]. It is a drying oil with an iodine value of 148 - 160[
Seed - sow early to mid spring in a warm greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least the first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in early summer and give the plants some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors.
Cuttings of mature wood in a frame[