Sapium ( Chinese Tallow ) Tree Seeds


Important Note: The seeds on this page will benefit greatly from using the CAPE Smoke Seed Germination Primer that we use in our own greenhouses. We find we receive significantly better germination results when we use this primer on these types of seeds.


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Photos and cultural info courtesy of Floridata.com
D7855 Chinese Tallow Tree ( Sapium )
The Chinese tallow is a fast-growing deciduous tree with a rounded or conical crown and an open, airy look. It can get up to 40' tall with a 20' spread. The leaves are diamond shaped, abruptly pointed at the tip, and 2-3" long. They flutter in the breeze like poplar leaves. In fall the leaves turn brilliant shades of scarlet, orange, yellow and maroon. The springtime flowers are in yellowish green catkins on the branch tips. The fruits are 3-lobed brown capsules that open to reveal three white, waxy seeds that resemble popcorn. Like most members of the spurge family, broken twigs and leaf stems exude a milky latex sap.

Location: Chinese tallow is native to China and Japan where it has been cultivated for its useful seeds and as an ornamental for more than a thousand years. It is said that Benjamin Franklin introduced Chinese tallow into the United States in 1776. Since then it has escaped from cultivation and is now an extremely invasive weed in much of the lower southeast and is currently expanding its range west and north through Texas and North Carolina. It is also considered a weed in Australia. It was planted as a street tree in California where it apparently has not yet become invasive, perhaps because of insufficient rainfall.

Culture: Chinese tallow tolerates almost any soil and can grow 5' tall in its first year.
Light: Full sun or partial shade.
Moisture: Chinese tallow is only moderately drought tolerant; seedlings especially, need watering during dry periods.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11.
Usage: In the United States Chinese tallow has been grown as a shade tree and for its brilliant fall foliage.
Features: Chinese tallow seed capsules yield a wax (Chinese vegetable tallow) that is used to make soap and candles. An oil is extracted that is used as a lamp fuel and machine lubricant. In parts of the American southeast, decorative wreaths are made by stringing the popcorn-like seeds. Honeybees make a desirable light-colored honey from the flowers. Cannot ship to FL, PR

  Package of 5 seeds $1.95



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