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Botanical Name: Rhus potaninii
Synonyms :Rhus henryi, Rhus sinica. non Diels.
Common Names: Chinese Varnish Tree, Potanin Sumac, Potanin’s Lacquer Tree
Habitat: Rhus potaninii is native to E. Asia – C. and W. China.( S Gansu, Henan, S Shaanxi, S Shanxi, Sichuan, NW Yunnan.) It grows on the hill and mountain forests, thickets; 900-2500 metres.
Rhus potaninii is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 8 m (26ft) branchlets glabrous. Petiole minutely pubescent; leaf blade imparipinnately compound; rachis wingless; leaflets 7-11; leaflet petiolule short; leaflet blade oblong or oblong-lanceolate, 5-10 × 2-4 cm, both sides minutely pubescent or subglabrous, base oblique, subrounded, margin entire, apex acuminate. Inflorescence 10-20 cm, minutely pubescent. Calyx minutely pubescent, lobes ovate, ca. 1 mm, margins ciliate. Petals ovate or ovate-oblong, 1.5-2 × ca. 1 mm, minutely pubescent, margins ciliate, revolute at anthesis. Stamen filaments ca. 2 mm in male flowers; anthers ovate; staminode filaments short in female flowers. Disk conspicuous. Ovary globose, ca. 0.7 mm in diam., densely white tomentose. Drupe subglobose, 3-4 mm in diam., densely mixed pilose and glandular-pubescent, red at maturity.
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It is not frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[11, 200]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant, but it rarely flowers in Britain. This species is very closely related to R. punjabensis. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter
Edible Parts: Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil.
An excrescence produced on the leaf by an insect Melaphis chinensis or M. paitan is antiseptic, astringent and haemostatic. It is used in the treatment of persistent cough with blood, chronic diarrhoea, spontaneous sweating, night sweats, bloody stool, urorrhoea and bloody sputum. It is used applied externally to burns, bleeding due to traumatic injuries, haemorrhoids and ulcers in the mouth.
Other Uses : The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. An indelible black ink is obtained from galls on the leaves. The report does not say if the galls are used before or after the insect leaves them.
Known Hazards: There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.