Tung tree (Vernicia fordii
or Aleurites fordii
) is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree.
Tung tree is widely distributed in the Southeastern United States, Taiwan, mainland China, Japan and India. Tung tree produces pink to purple colored flowers which appear before or with the leaves in loose, terminal clusters. Its pear-shaped fruit is initially green but turns dull brown when it ripens in the autumn. The seeds found in the fruit are valued for their oil, specifically tung oil. The sap from the tree is milky white.
All parts of the tung oil tree are toxic to poultry, although the seeds within the fruits produced by the tree are the most dangerous. Consumption of even one seed can be lethal.