Japan wax

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Japan wax, also known as sumac wax, China green tallow, and Japan tallow, is a pale-yellow, waxy, water-insoluble solid with a gummy feel, obtained from the berries of certain sumacs native to Japan and China, such as Toxicodendron vernicifluum (lacquer tree) and Toxicodendron succedanea (Japanese wax tree).[1]

Japan wax is a byproduct of lacquer manufacture. It is not a true wax but a fat that contains 95% palmitin.[1] Japan wax is sold in flat squares or disks and has a rancid odor. It is extracted by expression and heat, or by the action of solvents.


Japan wax is used in candles, furniture polishes, floor waxes, wax matches, soaps, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, pastels, crayons, buffing compounds, metal lubricants, adhesives, thermoplastic resins, and as a substitute for beeswax. Because it undergoes rancidification, it is not often used in foods.

Other names[edit]

Japan tallow; sumac wax; sumach wax; vegetable wax; Japan tallow; China green tallow.


Melting point = 124°F (51°C)[2] or 45–53 °C.[1]

Specific gravity ≈ 0.975[2]

Soluble in benzene, ether, naphtha and alkalis. Insoluble in water and cold ethanol.

Iodine value = 4.5–12.6

Acid value = 6–209

Saponification value = 220[2]


  1. ^ a b c Claude Leray "Waxes" in Kirk-othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology 2006, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/0471238961.2301240503152020.a01.pub2
  2. ^ a b c Brady, George S.; Clauser, Henry R. ; Vaccari A., John (1997). Materials Handbook (14th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-007084-9.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)