Family: Euphorbiaceae

Native to Asia and the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands, this genus of tropical trees is grown mainly for its seeds which, although poisonous, produce oils used for dying and waterproofing fabrics. With their spring flowers, these trees do make excellent shade trees. In frost-prone Climates grow in a cool greenhouse or conservatory.


Unfortunately, these are not freely available outside their countries of origin.

A. cordata, Japan wood-oil tree, has toothed leaves and warty fruits which contain the valuable seeds. It grows to 9 m (30 ft).

A. moluccana, candle nut, varnish tree or Indian walnut, is larger, growing to 20 m (65 ft). It has a frosty appearance from a distance. The leaves are slightly hairy and the flowers white.


Aleurites need to be grown in acid soil or potting compost. Outdoors, plant in a sunny spot. Fertilize each spring and water well in dry weather.


Suitable for zone 10.

Alectryon      Allamanda