Friday, October 22, 2010

Tallow Tree

Sapium

A genus of close to 100 species of mostly deciduous trees and shrubs related to Euphorbia, that are native to Central America and southeast Asia.
Sapium's mostly prefer full sun and well drained soil.

Sapium binoculare ( Jumping Bean Sapium )
A small tree native to southern Arizona, northwest Mexico and the Baja Peninsula, reaching a maximum size of 20 x 18 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 inches.
The lance shaped, deciduous leaves are up to 2.5 inches in length.
The milky sap is poisonous and causes painful swelling if it contacts eyes and nose.

Sapium ellipticum
Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - ; largest on record - 120 feet with a trunk diameter of 3.5 feet.
The leaves are up to 6 x 2 inches.

Sapium glandulosum
A tall tree native to Argentina reaching a maximum height of 100 feet with a trunk diameter of 16 inches.
The leaves are up to 6 x 1.5 inches.

Sapium japonicum
Also called Neoshirakia japonica. A rare, moderate growing, upright, deciduous small tree, reaching a maximum size of 50 ( rarely over 30 ) feet, that is native to southeastern China, south Korea and Japan.
The oval to broadly-ovate leaves are up to 6 x 4 inches in size. The foliage is deep blue-green; turning spectacular orange and red during autumn.
The yellow-green flowers are borne in clusters, up to 4 inches in length, during early summer.
The attractive, roughly striated bark is pale silver-greyish.
Hardy zones 5 to 8, it tolerates harsh conditions and loves hot summers.
An excellent ornamental tree for the Pacific Northwest, it may become invasive in the southeastern U.S. Thrives in the Mid Atlantic.

* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.




* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


Sapium sebiferum ( Chinese Tallow Tree )
An attractive, fast growing, rounded tree, reaching around 40 feet, that is native to most of central & southern China as well as Japan. It makes an excellent street tree but only in climates where it does not become invasive. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - trunk diameter increase of 2 inches; 1 st year - 6 feet; 5 years - 30 x 20 feet; 20 years - trunk diameter of 16 inches; largest on record - 80 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 4.2 feet; longest lived - 100 + years. It has escaped into the wild and become a noxious weed in the southern U.S where it is taking over bottomland forests and is extremely difficult to control. One tree can produce up to 100 000 seeds yearly. Previously it was used as a street shade tree.
The sharply-pointed, rounded to oval leaves are up to 6 x 4 inches in size. The foliage turns orange, scarlet-red and purple in December before falling. The Poplar-like leaves hang loosely.
The yellow-green flowers are borne in upright spikes up to 3 inches in length during summer.
They are followed by waxy coated fruits. The fruit capsules, persisting into winter, are 3-parted, up to 0.5 inches, open to reveal white seeds.
The wax is used to make candles in China.
The tan-brown bark becomes coarsely longitudinally furrowed on older trees..
Hardy zones 8 to 11 ( reports of zone 6b ). It is injured at -3 F. Seed source from Gansu Province in China would likely be the hardiest ). Very flood and salt water tolerant.

* photos of unknown internet source





* photos taken by James Henson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

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