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Author Topic: Solved: Chinese Tallow  (Read 1843 times)

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Offline Tom

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Solved: Chinese Tallow
« on: July 17, 2001, 11:31:14 AM »
This should be an interesting one.  It is now considered a pest but I can see where an enterprising fellow could make a lot of money off of it.

                           

It is a relatively small tree with light grey furrowed bark. The picture is almost 1/2 size for the speciman represented although generally the leaves are a bit larger and heart shaped.

Bowl turners like the wood for its brown color.  It is not commercially available as boards because it is usually not allowed to reach a sawable size.  Those that are allowed to grow are treasured as shade trees.


                                     
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Offline Tom

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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2001, 02:13:36 PM »
Sapium  sebiferum  

It may be a little unfair to list a tree like this since it is strongly implanted in the Southeast, lesser to the west and probably not found north of North Carolina.  I find it an interesting tree and because it grows so prolifically could be a good lumber tree, ornamental and be used for other things if it could be controled.  This tree keeps coming up in ditchs, front yards, pastures and most everywhere it's not wanted.  It seems to grow in well drained as well as swampy ground.

It is known also as the "Popcorn" tree because its fruit matures dries and the covering falls off leaving a snow white seed hanging on the tree.

A story I heard was that a man in Hawaii claimed that if this tree were comercially grown on old cane plantations, enough oil from the seeds could be produced to fuel all the flights of planes back to the 48 on the mainland.  All fuel has to be shipped to Hawaii now to get these planes back.

I was curious and stuck a pin in one of the seeds and lit it with a match.  It burned brightly, just like a candle, for over 2 minutes.  Pretty impressive.
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Offline Tom

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Re: Solved: Chinese Tallow
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2001, 03:38:52 PM »
I thought there was more to this thread, but apparently I was mistaken.

I have been watching the trees for the berries to ripen so that you could all see why it is called a popcorn tree.  This is a picture of the same tree as provided the picture at the top of the thread and was taken today, Oct 22.  The nuts were pure white a couple of days ago but are beginning to get dark shading on them that looks like a mildew.  This is a natural phenomena and before long they will all be dark and the white, thin covering of the seed will fall off leaving a very dark brown pellet on the ground to germinate.


                                                     
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Offline Gordon

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Re: Solved: Chinese Tallow
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2001, 04:10:11 PM »
That is some pretty neat info. Tom. I've never seen anything like that around here. If it is I've never noticed it. Does the seed dry out once it starts looking like popcorn.

I've got an idea for some of those yard torches. Just drain a bunch of those seeds and now your cookin. :D

Gordon


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