The seed contains about 20% of a drying oil. It is used to make candles and soap. The oil is used in making varnishes and native paints because of its quick-drying properties. It is also used in machine oils and as a crude lamp oil. The pure oil expressed from the inner part of the seeds is known in commerce as Ting-yu. The residual cake, after the oil is expressed, is used as manure, particularly for tobacco fields. The leaves are rich in tannin, a black dye can be obtained by boiling them in alum water.The plant is used as a soil binder along the sides of roads and canals. The wood is white, even and close grained, light, soft or moderately hard. It is suitable for carving and is also used for making blocks in Chinese printing, furniture making and incense.The wood is light and soft. It is used for fuel.
The seed is antidote, emetic, hydragogue and purgative. In China it is taken internally, which is a rather questionable practice considering its toxic nature. The root bark is diuretic. It is used in the treatment of snake bites and skin ulcers.The juice of the tree (the sap is probably meant here[K]) is acrid and vesicant.
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This tree is not reliably hardy in Britain, though it was successfully grown here in the 18th century. It is able to withstand a few degrees of frost, but unripened twigs are particularly susceptible to frost injury. It succeeds outdoors in the milder parts of Britain when grown in a woodland garden. A fast-growing tree, it is much cultivated in warm temperate regions for its seeds which are a source of vegetable tallow, a drying oil and protein food. The fruits yield two types of fats - the outer covering of the seeds contains a solid fat with a low iodine value and is known as Chinese Vegetable Tallow whilst the kernels produce a drying oil with high iodine value which is called Stillingia Oil. Many named varietis have been developed in the Orient, especially in Taiwan, for improved oil production. Plants require from 3 - 8 years to bear, but then continue to bear for an average of 70 - 100 years. They attain their full size in 10 - 12 years. Yields of 14 tonnes of seed per hectare, containing 2.6 tonnes of oil and 2.8 tones of tallow have been achieved. This yield could increase with age. The plant has escaped from cultivation in N. America and has become a serious pest there, displacing native vegetation. It apparently produces root secretions that modify soil chemistry and discourage the establishment of native species.Responds well to coppicing.
Problems, pests & diseases
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