- any of various trees yielding sap or other substances used for varnish, as Rhus verniciflua, of Japan.
- an Asian tree, Koelreuteria paniculata, of the soapberry family, having showy clusters of yellow flowers from 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm) long, and papery, brilliantly colored pods with black seeds, grown as an ornamental.
Origin of varnish tree
An Americanism dating back to 1750–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for varnish tree
The urusi or varnish-tree, of which they make so extensive a use, is a noble tree when grown to its full size.Ten Thousand Wonderful Things
Edmund Fillingham King
- any of various trees, such as the lacquer tree, yielding substances used to make varnish or lacquer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012