Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sapium sebiferum - Chinese Tallow Tree

Sapium sebiferum: Sapium, Latin name for a resinous pine (trees in this genus have a sticky sap, though they are obviously not pines); sebiferum for 'tallow-bearing,' referring to waxy covering around seeds which can be used to make candles.

Tiny yellow flowers in tassel-like spikes. Attracts bees.

Heart-shaped leaves, similar to poinsettia.

Waxy seed covering used to make candles and soap. Trees also give off milky sap, typical of Euphorbiaceae.

Showy fall color yellow to orange to red.

Smooth medium light gray bark.

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