Vernicia montana (Euphorbiaceae)

Vernicia montana

For over a year the identity of this shrub vexed me, even after it flowered, even after it fruited. The strongly raised extrafloral nectaries were quite indicative of a Euphorbiaceae. I wasn’t sure if it was native or not, as I had not seen this tree planted ornamentally elsewhere. After it flowered I thought that the white flowers looked similar in form (although much larger) to the native Candlenut (Aleurites rockinghamensis). However, there was nothing native in Australia that matched it. It took browsing through an ornamental plant guide to finally figure this out.

This turned out to be a Tung tree (Vernicia montana) from Southeast Asia. This species was in fact rather closely related to Aleurites and was previously called Aleurites montana. is grown mostly for the seeds from which a prized oil is extracted for wood finish. In nature, V. montana is also rather pioneer-like, and can be found at the margins of primary forests.

Vernicia montana
The base of the leaves have two strongly raised glands at the base

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About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family), Habitat - Urban Areas, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Non-Natives, Ornamental Plants and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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