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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Poplarville, Mississippi » Southern Horticultural Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321489

Title: Vernicia fordii ‘Spiers’, a new tung tree for commercial tung oil production in the gulf coast region

item Rinehart, Timothy - Tim
item Shockey, Jay
item Edwards Jr, Ned
item Spiers, James
item Klasson, K Thomas

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/4/2015
Publication Date: 12/1/2015
Citation: Rinehart, T.A., Shockey, J.M., Edwards Jr, N.C., Spiers, J.M., Klasson, K.T. 2015. Vernicia fordii ‘Spiers’, a new tung tree for commercial tung oil production in the gulf coast region. HortScience. 50: 1830-1832.

Interpretive Summary: ‘Spiers’ is a new tung tree released by the USDA Agricultural Research Service and is not patented. It may be propagated and sold freely. USDA-ARS can also supply budwood to farmers wishing to propagate. ‘Spiers’ will be used by entrepreneurs, small businesses, and farmers that are interested in reviving domestic tung oil production in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. A new tung oil mill has been established by Gulf Coast Tung Oil, LLC in Tallahassee, FL by Greg Frost. There is also interest in domestic production for use as a biofuels additive, which would benefit from high eleostearic acid acid content found in ‘Spiers’.

Technical Abstract: L266 is a seedling of L92 and was produced by open pollination in 1941 by the USDA-ARS tung improvement research program. It was planted in Folsom, LA and selected in 1954 because of its late-flowering time and superior production values. Yield was calculated from actual measures of nuts per tree in 1954, 1956 and 1957 and again in 1964 and 1968. Percent oil (w/f) was also calculated over the same time spans. Additional evaluations were published by Spiers and Kilby in 1973 from replicated plantings that were 12 and 14 years old. Yields were compared to ‘Isabel’, a popular cultivar in production at the time. Results demonstrate that L266 oil production (calculated as a percentage of whole fruit and as pounds per tree or acre) was comparable or superior to commercial cultivars and other late-flowering selections. Hundreds of tung trees were under evaluation from1939 through the 1960s. Only a small fraction of these breeding lines are maintained by TCSHL in the germplasm collection . Detailed breeding notes suggest that L266 was an elite selection that was used to develop at least 11 different superior lines that were not preserved after the breeding program was discontinued in 1970.