Aleurites fordii Hemsl.
A much-branched monoecious deciduous tree up to 10 m. Bark smooth, pale grey. Wood soft, white. Young shoots ferruginous-pubescent, soon glabrescent. Perulae lanceolate, 1-2 cm long, often somewhat glutinous. Leaves long-petiolate, the petioles (5-) 10-20 cm long, crowded at the tips of the shoots; leaf-blade broadly ovate, rarely trilobate (5-) 10-20 x (4-) 10-19 cm, sub-acutely or obtusely acuminate, truncate or shallowly to deeply cordate, usually with (1-) 2 circular sessile contiguous adaxial glands at the base, entire, 5-7-nerved from the base, somewhat coriaceous, densely pubescent above and beneath at first, tardily glabrescent, dark green, shiny. Stipules lanceolate, 4-10 mm long, subglabrous, leaving fairly prominent scars when fallen. Inflorescences subcorymbiform, branched from the base, usually with 1 terminal ♀ flower and 5-7 lateral 3-7-flowered ♂ cymules, up to 15 cm long and 20 cm wide; bracts linear-lanceolate, 3-8 mm long, sharply acute, sparingly pubescent. Flowers precocious. Male flowers: pedicels 2-3 cm long, subglabrous; buds ovoid to ovoid-ellipsoid, c. 1 cm long, apiculate, the calyx rupturing into 2 unequal lobes, sparingly pubescent without, glabrous within: petals obovate-oblanceolate, 3 x 1 cm, rounded, pubescent without at the base, otherwise glabrous, white, yellow at the base, pink-tinged; disc-glands erect, triangular-lanceolate to subulate, somewhat fleshy, 3-4 mm long, acute, whitish; stamens 8 (-10), united in a glabrous column 1.5 cm high, with the outer 5 only ½ as long as the inner 3, anthers ellipsoid-ovoid, c. 2 mm long. Female flowers: calyx and petals as in the ♂; disc-glands 2-3 mm long, sharply acute; ovary ovoid-subglobose, 4-5-locolar, 4-5 x 3-4 mm, sparingly pubescent; styles 4-5, united at the base, 4-5 mm long, ± glabrous, the stigmas shortly bifid. Fruits ± spherical or slightly compressed, 4-5 x 3.5-5 cm, apiculate, abruptly narrowed into the base, ± smooth or faintly lineate, glabrous, green at first, dull brown when ripe. Seeds broadly compressed-ovoid, 2-2.5 x 2-2.2 cm, slighly warty and ridged dorsally and ventrally, brownish.
Fr. Per.: Dec.
Lectotype: China, Hubei [Hupeh], Ichang, Henry 878 (K). (Radcliffe-Smith, 1973).
Distribution: Native to SE Asia (S. China, S. Burma, N. Vietnam), widely cultivated elsewhere (e.g. India, N. Burma, Tropical Africa, the Mascarenes and the USA). 4000'/1220 m.
It is grown for the-rapid-drying oil obtained from the seed-kernels, used in varnish manufacture.