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Plants of the UNF Campus

Sapium sebiferum - Chinese tallow tree
Family Euporbiaceae


Over one hundred species of Sapium are found in the world’s tropics. This species is native to China and Japan. Fats in the seed coverings have been used as “vegetable tallow” in the manufacture of candles, soap, machine oil, and lamp oil. The Chinese prepare a black dye by boiling the leaves in alum water. It was introduced to gardens in the southern U.S. as a landscape tree because of its red fall foliage color. Unfortunately, this plant has escaped from gardens and is considered a threat to natural areas of north Florida. 


See these plants along the edges of natural areas on campus.


Medium-sized tree to about thirty to forty feet tall.

Care Instructions:




This plant is listed as an exotic pest plant in Florida (Appendix 1 by the Exotic Pest Plant Council.) Staff is removing these plants on campus in 2007.

Sapium sebiferum