Vernicia montana Lour. - EUPHORBIACEAE

Synonym : Dryandra vernicia Corr. Müllo.
Elaeococca vernicia (Corr. Müllo) Spreng.
Elaeococca montana (Lour.) Oken
Aleurites vernicia (Corr. Müllo) Hassk.
Aleurites montana (Lour.) Wilson.

Common name : Mu oil tree

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Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Trees with copious white exudate. Leaves with 3-5 main veins, glaucous below. Petiole long, reddish with two red kidney shaped glands at the top. Flowers pale yellow, unisexual on the same plant. Fruit a capsule.
Habit : Deciduous or evergreen small tree up to 15 m high, 25 cm in diameter.
Trunk & bark : Trunk straight. Bark smooth, lenticellate and pustular, black.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Twig terete, glabrous, lenticellate, reddish, blackish when dry.
Exudates : Not observed.
Leaves : Leaves simple, alternate and spiral, 9-16 by 8.5-14.5 cm, ovate, 3 lobed blade, apex acute, base rounded, margin entire, blade papery, glabrous with two hanging cup shaped glands at the junction of the lamina and petiole, glaucous below. Young leaves greenish – pale red, nerves light green.
Midrib raised above, 5 basal veins, palmate, secondary veins pinnate and oblique to the midrib, widely parallel and open near margin, tertiary veins oblique. Petiole 6.5-7.5 cm long, glabrous, reddish at base and on upper surface.
Stipules caducous leaving scar at petiole base.
Inflorescences or flowers : Flowers white, reddish-brown in the centre, very fragrant, grouped in terminal panicle of compound cymes. Female flower smaller than male flower. Pedicels longuer than 0.5 cm.
Fruits : Fruit is a capsule, smooth, glabrous, subglobose, 3 by 4 cm with longitudinal grooves and ridges. .
Seeds : 5 seeds.

Habitat and ecology :

Found in disturbed places and margins of evergreen forest or in depleted forest along the road in dry, sandy soil, at 1200 m altitude.

Distribution :

Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China (South), Thailand, Vietnam and Laos (Borikhamxay province).

Remark/notes/uses :
The seed oil is of commercial importance and used in about the same way as tung oil from V. fordii, for the manufacture of varnishes, paints, linoleum.

Specimens studied :
BT 380, BT 392 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Peter C. Van Welzen & Kongkanda Chayamarit. 2007. Flora of Thailand, Vol. 8, part 2.The Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand.

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