Aleurites montana (Lour.) Wils.
Wood-oil tree, Mu-oil tree
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Kernels yield a valuable drying oil, largely used in paints, varnishes
and linoleums. Also used locally for illumination and lacquer-work. Varnish
made from this plant possess a high degree of water-resistance, gloss and
durability. There are only slight differences between the oils of A.
montana and A. fordii.
The oil is applied to furuncles and ulcers.
The oil content of the seed is ca 5060%. Oil consists chiefly of
glycerides of beta-elaeostearic and oleic acids, and probably a little linoleic
acid. Oil cake residue is poisonous and is only fit for manuring.
A small tree about 5 m tall, much-branched, partially deciduous,
dioecious; leaves simple, ovate or more or less cordate, apex cuspidate, about
12 cm long, 10 cm broad, sometimes larger and 3-lobed; leaf-blade with 2 large,
conspicuous glands at base, petiole up to 24 cm long; flowers monoecious,
petals large, white, up to 3 cm long; fruits egg-shaped, 3-lobed, wrinkled,
about 5 cm in diameter, pointed at summit, flattened at base, generally with 3
or 4 oneseeded segments, the outer surface with wavy transverse ridges, the
pericarp thick, hard and weedy. Fl. and fr. March.
(2n = 22)
Native to South China and in some of the S. Shan States (Burma).
Introduced and cultivated successfully in Indochina where it has replaced A.
fordii; Malawi, and in cooler parts of Florida, and other tropical
Ranging from Warm Temperate Moist to Tropical Dry to Moist Forest Life
Zones, the mu-oil tree tolerates annual rainfall of 8.720.2 dm (mean of 7
cases = 14.5), annual temperatures of 14.826.5 (mean of 7 cases = 22.1°C), and
pH of 5.58.0 (mean of 4 cases = 6.4). Adapted to subtropical regions and high
elevations with moderate rainfall. Mainly a hillside species, but can thrive
ded the area is well-drained. Maximum temperature 35.5°C, minimum
temperature 6°C. It is frost-tender, and does not require a low temperature
(below 3°C) as tung-oil trees (A. fordii) do, so can be grown
in warmer regions. In Assam, grown where rainfall is 175275 cm annually; in
Mysore at elevations of 8001,000 m with annual rainfall of 150 cm. Grows well
in alluvial soils and is not very exacting in its soil requirements, but in
richer soils the growth is more vigorous. A slightly acid soil is
Trees are propagated from seeds or by budding. In Malawi, propagation is
by budding from high yielding clones. Seeds are usually planted in nursery and
may take from 2 to 3 months to germinate. When seedlings are about I year old,
they are planted out, spaced 6.6 x 6.6 m or more. Cultural practices are
similar to those for A. fordii. As soon as the seedlings emerge, a
sidedressing of fertilizer (5-10-5) of nitrogen and phosphorus along with
commercial zinc sulfate should be applied. Fertilizer is applied at rate of
600 kg/ha, in bands along each side of row, 20 cm from seedlings and 57.5 cm
deep. Other fertilizers may be needed depending on the soil. According to
Spurling and Spurling (1974), N is the most important nutrient for tung in
Malawi, irrespective of climate or soil. Most successful budding is done in
late August, by the simple shield method, requiring a piece of budstick bark,
including a bud, that will fit into a cut in the rootstock bark. A T-shaped
cut is made in bark of rootstock at point 57.5 cm above ground level, the
flaps of bark loosened, shield-bud slipped inside flaps and the flaps tied
tightly over the transplanted bud with rubber budding strip 12 cm long and 0.6
cm wide. After about 7 days, rubber strip is cut to prevent binding. As newly
set buds are susceptible to cold injury, soil is mounded over them for winter.
When growth starts in spring, soil is pulled back and each stock cut back to
within 3.5 cm of the dormant bud. Later care consists of keeping all suckers
removed and the trees well-cultivated. Trees may be planted 125750/ha. When
trees are small, close planting in rows greatly increases the bearing surface,
but at maturity the bearing surface of a crowded row is about the same as for a
row with trees further apart. However, it is well to leave enough space
between rows for orchard operations. In contour-planting, distances between
rows and total number of trees per hectare vary; rows 1012 m apart, trees
spaced 3.34 m apart in rows, 250350 trees/ha. Tops of trees must be pruned
back to 2025 cm at planting. As growth starts, all buds are rubbed off except
the one strongest growing and best placed on the tree. A bud 5 cm or more
below top of stump is preferred over one closer to top.
Trees begin bearing 25 years after transplanting with maximum
production reached in 8 years and continuing for 40 years. In northern Burma,
it has been observed to be more vigorous and disease-resistant than A.
fordii. In Indochina, it has been successfully planted and its oil is now
being produced on commercial scale, replacing that of A. fordii. Fruits
mature and drop to ground in late September to early November. They are
gathered and dried to 15% moisture before processing. Fruits should be left on
ground 34 weeks until hulls are dead and dry, and the moisture content has
dropped below 30%; fresh they are about 60% moisture. Fruits are gathered by
hand into baskets or sacks.
A. montana is reported to give much higher yields of fruits than A.
fordii. The percentage of kernels in the seeds is about 56%, and of oil in
the kernels, about 59.3%. Major producers of the oil from A. montana
are Burma, Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), Malawi, Congo, East Africa,
South Africa, Malagasy Republic, India, and U.S.S.R. It has been considered for
introduction in Florida.
Yields of oil per tree in China is reckoned to be about 3.2 kg; in
Florida, 4.59 kg. Trees yield about 4568 kg nuts/year, these yielding about
3540% oil. In one Malawi trial, N treatments gave an increase of 519 kg/ha
dry seed over a trial mean of 1070 kg/ha. With tung cake and ammonium
sulphate, air dry tung seed yields of 1217 year old trees was 2013 to 2367
kg/ha, of 69 year olds 7661546 kg/ha (Spurling and Spurling, 1974).
Fungi reported on A. montana include the following: Armillaria
mellea, Botryodiplodia theobromae, Botryosphaeria ribis, Cephaleuros mycoidea,
C. virescens, Cercospora aleuritidis, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides var.
aleuritidis, Corticium oleroga, C. solani (Rhizoctonia solani), Corynespora
cassiicola, Diplodia theobromae, Fusarium arthrosporioides, F. lateritium,
Glomerella cingulata, Haplosporella aleurites, Mycosphaerella aleuritidis,
Periconia byssoides, Pestalotiopsis disseminata, P. glandicola, P. japonica, P.
versicolor, Pestalotia dichaeta, Phyllosticta microspora, Pseudocampion
fasciculatum, Rhizoctonia lanellifera, Schizophyllum commune, Thyronectria
pseudotrichia, Trametes occidentalis, Ustilin zonata.
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Spurling, A.T. and Spurling, D. 1974. Effect of various organic and
inorganic fertilizers on the yield of Montana tung (Aleurites montana)
in Malawi. Trop. Agr. 51(1):112.
Last update December 19, 1997