Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Rhus verniciflua Stokes

With a range from the Himalayas to Japan, it is a medium-sized tree with large pinnate leaves and drooping panicles of flowers.  It is the source of the famous varnish or lacquer of Japan.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Rhus vernicifera, De Candolle. Extends from Nepal to Japan. It forms a tree of fair size and yields the Japan-varnish. In India it ascends to 7,000 feet; but Stewart and Brandis are doubtful, whether the Japan species (R. Vernix, L.) is really identical with the Indian. The fruit yields vegetable wax. R. Wallichii (J. Hooker) of the Himalayas is a cognate species.’  [Ferdinand von Mueller – Select Extra-Tropical Plants readily eligible for Industrial Culture or Naturalisation p.324/1885].

Introduced to Britain from Nepal in 1823.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.824/1843].  If this identification is correct, probably introduced to determine its potential to produce resins under Camden conditions.


Published Mar 17, 2010 - 03:16 PM | Last updated Jul 14, 2010 - 11:22 AM

Family Anacardiaceae
Region of origin

Asia, including Indian subcontinent, China, Japan

  • Rhus vernicifera DC.
  • Rhus wallichii Hook.f. 
Common Name

Varnish tree, Lacquer tree

Name in the Camden Park Record

Rhus sp. (from India) 

Confidence level low