Japan wax

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Japan wax also known as sumac wax, China green tallow, and Japan tallow. This material 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 a used 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.