Japan wax

Japan wax

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).

Japan wax is a byproduct of lacquer manufacture. It is not a true wax but a fat that contains 10-15% palmitin, stearin, and olein with about 1% japanic acid (1,21-heneicosanedioic acid). 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.


  • Uses 1
  • Other names 2
  • Properties 3
  • References 4


Japan wax is a vegetable fat used chiefly in the manufacture of 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.

Other names

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


Melting point = 124°F (51°C) [1]

Specific gravity ≈ 0.975 [1]

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 [1]


  1. ^ a b c Brady, George S.; Clauser, Henry R. ; Vaccari A., John (1997). Materials Handbook (14th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.