Gardening Directory

Exc[oe]caria Sebifera

This Euphorbiaceous plant is the tallow tree of China. The fruits, are about half an inch in diameter, and each contains three seeds, thickly coated with a fatty substance which yields the tallow. This is obtained by first steaming the seeds, then bruising them

to loosen the fat without breaking the seeds, which are removed by sifting. The fat is then made into flat circular cakes and pressed, when the pure tallow exudes in a liquid state and soon hardens into a white, brittle mass. Candles made from this get soft in hot weather, which is prevented by coating them with insect wax. A liquid oil is obtained from the seeds by pressing. The tree yields a hard wood, used by the Chinese for printing blocks, and its leaves are used in dyeing black.

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