tallow tree

tallow tree

noun
a small tree, Sapium sebiferum, of the spurge family, cultivated in China and the tropics, having popcorn-shaped seeds with a waxy coating that is used for soap, candles, and oil.

Origin:
1695–1705

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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tallow tree

(Sapium sebiferum), small tree, of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), native to China but much cultivated in the tropics for its tallow-producing seeds and elsewhere as an ornamental. The seeds are thickly coated with vegetable tallow from which candles and soap are made. It is a member of a 120-species genus of tropical trees, including S. jenmanii, of Guyana, which is a source of rubber, and S. biloculare, from northern Mexico, which is one of the small trees from which jumping beans come. The butter, or tallow, tree of Sierra Leone is Pentadesma butyracea, of the family Guttiferae (also called Clusiaceae).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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