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tung tree

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noun

any of several trees belonging to the genus Aleurites, of the spurge family, especially A. fordii, of China, bearing seeds that yield tung oil.

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Also called tung-oil tree.

Origin of tung tree

First recorded in 1890–95; see origin at tung oil
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What is a tung tree?

The name tung tree is used to refer to several species of the genus Aleurites (part of the spurge family), especially Aleurites fordii or Vernicia fordii.

It’s sometimes called the tung-oil tree because its seeds are used to make tung oil.

Tung oil is a drying oil, which is a kind of oil that hardens when exposed to air and forms a tough, elastic layer on the surface that it’s applied to.

These qualities are why drying oils like tung oil are used as a base for some paints and varnishes, such as those used in woodworking. Tung oil can be applied to wood to give it a water-resistant finish.

The tung tree is native to China and tung oil is sometimes sold or labeled as Chinese wood oil. 

Example: The tung tree is known for being the source of tung oil, but it’s also very beautiful, especially when its flowers bloom.

Where does tung tree come from?

The word tung comes from the Chinese name for the tree, t’ung.

Tung oil is preferred as a finishing oil by some woodworkers for a variety of reasons, especially for being water-resistant and creating a glossy finish.

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How is tung tree used in real life?

The tung tree is known for being the source of tung oil, which is used by woodworkers.

 

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The tung tree is native to North America.

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