A tung tree, flowering in spring.
Binomial name: Vernicia fordii (Hemsl.) Airy-Shaw
tung oil tree.
Tung oil is made from pressed seeds from the nut of the tung tree. The tung tree, native to China, is named for its heart-shaped leaves because “tung” is Chinese for “heart.” In the 14th century, Chinese merchants were noted for using tung oil to waterproof and protect wooden ships from the eroding powers of the sea. There are even mentions of tung oil appearing in the writings of Confucius in around 400 B.C. For these reasons, it is also sometimes referred to as “China wood oil.”
Pure tung oil is considered a drying oil much like linseed, safflower, poppy and soybean oil and is known to have a slightly golden tint. Tung oil, which is a ctually a vegetable oil, is considered the best penetrating drying oil available due to its unique ability to wet the surface, allowing it to penetrate even the densest woods. Unlike linseed oil, it will not darken with age.
INTERESTING THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TUNG OIL:
- Marco Polo is said to have brought a sample back to the western world from China.
- Completely natural and renewable, pure tung oil has gained recent popularity
among the environmentally conscious.
- Inherently resistant to disease and insects, tung trees require no fungicides
- Tung nut byproducts can be used for mulch.
- During World War II the Chinese figured out how to use Tung Oil as motor fuel (New Scientist Feb 26, 1981: David Hall).
Read this information about Tung Oil in a PDF.