Tung Oil Tree
Tung oil comes from the seeds of several species of Aleurites, primarily Aleurites fordii, a deciduous shade tree native to China.
It belongs to the Euphorbia Family (Euphorbiaceae) along with the candlenut tree (A. molucanna), another species with seeds rich in unsaturated oils.
Tung oil tree (Aleurites fordii) showing two male flowers and one female flower (left) in which the petals have fallen off exposing the pistil.
For centuries tung oil has been used for paints and waterproof coatings, and as a component of caulk and mortar.
Fruit and seeds of the tung oil tree (Aleurites fordii). The oil-rich seeds are the source of tung oil used on fine furniture. The lower left fruit has completely dried out
It is an ingredient in "India ink" and is commonly used for a lustrous finish on wood.
In fact, the "teak oil" sold for fine furniture is usually refined tung oil.
Some woodworkers consider tung oil to be one of the best natural finishes for wood.
Other unsaturated plant oils, such as castor oil and linseed oil, take longer to dry and leave an oily residue until they soak into the wood surface.
Tung oil 's ability to dry quickly and polymerize into a tough, glossy, waterproof coating has made it especially valuable in paints, varnishes, linoleum, oilcloth and printing inks.
Tung oil is composed primarily of eleostearic (elaeostearic) acid, with smaller amounts of oleic, linoleic and palmitic glycerides