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''Toxicodendron vernicifluum'' (formerly ''Rhus verniciflua''), also known by the common name Chinese lacquer tree, is an
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
n tree species of genus ''
Toxicodendron ''Toxicodendron'' is a genus of flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece ...
'' native to
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
and the Indian subcontinent, and cultivated in regions of China,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
and
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
. Other common names include ''Japanese lacquer tree'', ''Japanese sumac'', and ''varnish tree''. The trees are cultivated and tapped for their toxic sap, which is used as a highly durable
lacquer Lacquer is a type of hard and potentially shiny coating A coating is a covering that is applied to the surface of an object, usually referred to as the substrate Substrate may refer to: Physical layers *Substrate (biology), the natural e ...

lacquer
to make Chinese, Japanese, and Korean
lacquerware Lacquerware are objects decoratively covered with lacquer. Lacquerware includes small or large containers, tableware, a variety of small objects carried by people, and larger objects such as furniture and even coffins painted with lacquer. Befo ...

lacquerware
. The trees grow up to 20 metres tall with large leaves, each containing from 7 to 19 leaflets (most often 11–13). The sap contains the allergenic compound
urushiol Urushiol is an oily mixture of organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, prope ...

urushiol
, which gets its name from this species' Japanese name urushi (); "urushi" is also used in English as a collective term for all kinds of Asian
lacquerware Lacquerware are objects decoratively covered with lacquer. Lacquerware includes small or large containers, tableware, a variety of small objects carried by people, and larger objects such as furniture and even coffins painted with lacquer. Befo ...

lacquerware
made from the sap of this and related Asian tree species, as opposed to European "lacquer" or
Japanning Japanning is a type of finish that originated as a Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geog ...
made from other materials. Urushiol is also the
oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound ...

oil
found in
poison ivy Poison ivy is an allergenic plant in the genus ''Toxicodendron ''Toxicodendron'' is a genus of flowering plants in the sumac family, Anacardiaceae. It contains trees, shrubs and woody plant, woody vines, including Toxicodendron radicans, poiso ...

poison ivy
that causes a
rash A rash is a change of the human skin The human skin is the outer covering of the body and is the largest organ of the integumentary system The integumentary system is the set of organs forming the outermost layer of an animal's body. It c ...

rash
.


Uses


Lacquer

Sap SAP SE () is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sove ...

Sap
, containing
urushiol Urushiol is an oily mixture of organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, prope ...

urushiol
(an allergenic irritant), is tapped from the trunk of the Chinese lacquer tree to produce lacquer. This is done by cutting 5 to 10 horizontal lines on the trunk of a 10-year-old tree, and then collecting the greyish yellow sap that exudes. The sap is then filtered, heat-treated, or coloured before applying onto a base material that is to be lacquered. Curing the applied sap requires "drying" it in a warm, humid chamber or closet for 12 to 24 hours where the urushiol
polymerize In polymer chemistry Polymer chemistry is a sub-discipline of chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, str ...
s to form a clear, hard, and waterproof surface. In its liquid state, urushiol can cause extreme rashes, even from vapours. Once hardened, reactions are possible but less common. Products coated with
lacquer Lacquer is a type of hard and potentially shiny coating A coating is a covering that is applied to the surface of an object, usually referred to as the substrate Substrate may refer to: Physical layers *Substrate (biology), the natural e ...

lacquer
are recognizable by an extremely durable and glossy finish. Lacquer has many uses; some common applications include
tableware Tableware is any dish or dishware used for setting a table, serving food, and dining. It includes cutlery Cutlery includes any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food Food is any substance consumed to pr ...

tableware
,
musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who play ...
s,
fountain pen #REDIRECT Fountain pen File:Different fountain pens.jpg, Various contemporary and vintage fountain pens (left to right) Pilot Justus 95, Pelikan Souverän M1000, Montblanc Meisterstück 149, Pilot Heritage 912, Parker Duofold Centennial, Sheaffer ...

fountain pen
s,
jewelry Jewellery or jewelry consists of decorative items worn for personal adornment 150px, The principal adornment of these girls from the Bundu tribe in Sierra Leone is the adornment of bodies and faces with markings produced by the smearing on by ...

jewelry
, and for archery. There are various types of
lacquerware Lacquerware are objects decoratively covered with lacquer. Lacquerware includes small or large containers, tableware, a variety of small objects carried by people, and larger objects such as furniture and even coffins painted with lacquer. Befo ...

lacquerware
. The cinnabar-red is highly regarded. Unpigmented lacquer is dark brown but the most common colors of urushiol finishes are black and red, from powdered
iron oxide Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen Group (periodic table), group in the periodic table, ...

iron oxide
pigments of ferrous-ferric oxide (
magnetite Magnetite is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure for ...

magnetite
) and
ferric oxide Iron(III) oxide or ferric oxide is the inorganic compound In chemistry, an inorganic compound is typically a chemical compound that lacks carbon–hydrogen bonds, that is, a compound that is not an organic compound. However, the distinction is ...

ferric oxide
(
rust Rust is an iron oxide, a usually reddish-brown oxide formed by the reaction of iron and oxygen in the catalytic presence of water or air moisture. Rust consists of hydrous ferric oxides, hydrous iron(III) oxides (Fe2O3·nH2O) and iron(III) oxi ...

rust
), respectively. Lacquer is painted on with a brush and is cured in a warm and
humid Humidity is the concentration of water vapor, water vapour present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Humidity indicates the likelihood for precipitation (meteorology), precipitation, d ...
environment. Artistic application and decoration of lacquer can be a long process, requiring many hours or days of careful and repetitive layers and drying times. The creation of a single piece of urushi art, such as a bowl or a fountain pen, may take weeks to months to complete. Lacquer is a very strong
adhesive Adhesive, also known as glue, cement, mucilage, or paste, is any non-metallic substance applied to one or both surfaces of two separate items that binds them together and resists their separation. The use of adhesives offers certain advantag ...
. The leaves, seeds, and the
resin In polymer chemistry Polymer chemistry is a sub-discipline of chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, stru ...

resin
of the Chinese lacquer tree are sometimes used in
Chinese medicine Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a branch of traditional medicine Traditional medicine (also known as indigenous or folk medicine) comprises medical aspects of traditional knowledge that developed over generations within the folk bel ...

Chinese medicine
for the treatment of internal parasites and for stopping bleeding. Compounds butein and sulfuretin are antioxidants, and have inhibitory effects on aldose reductase and advanced glycation endproduct, advanced glycation processes. Buddhist monks who practiced the art of Sokushinbutsu would use the tree's sap in their ceremony.


Wax

The fruits of ''T. vernicifluum'' can also be processed to produce a waxy substance known as Japan wax used for numerous purposes including varnishing furniture and producing candles. The fruits of the trees are harvested, dried, steamed, and pressed to extract the wax, which hardens when cooled.


See also

*Lacquer *Lacquerware * Shimose powder *Urushi-e *Urushiol


References


Further reading

* Duke, James A.; Ayensu, Edward S. ''Medicinal Plants of China''. Algonac, Mich.: Reference Publications, Inc. 1985. . * * Stutler, Russ
"A Little more information on Urushi"
December 2002. * Suganuma, Michiko. "Japanese lacquer".


External links


Toxicodendron vernicifluum in the Flora of China

Heat treatment of Japanese lacquerware renders it hypoallergenic
{{Authority control Toxicodendron, vernicifluum