Shiny Leaf Yellowhorn

By Rick Da Tech


shiney leaf yellowhorn seed oil for biodieselXanthoceras sorbifolium (yellowhorn, shiny leaf yellowhorn, goldenhorn, Chinese flowering chestnut), is a potential cold hardy oilseed tree. It is a small slow growing deciduous tree, reaching a height of 22 ft and a diameter of 24 ft. It grows less than 12 inches a year.

It prefers acidic dry soil and does not do well in hot wet locations. Hardy in Zones 4 to 7. It is drought tolerant and will survive temperatures below -20 °F.

It is cultivated In Northeastern China for it's edible fruit, reminiscent of chestnuts, it has a seed pod several inches across that have a number of pea sized seeds. These seeds contain up to 70% oil. In cultivation, it can produce over 800 gallons of oil per acre.

Yellowhorn oil contains only 7% saturated fatty acids, giving it similar cold weather properties as canola.

The Yellowhorn tree has multiple uses in Chinese Pharmacopoeia, however, the Chinese grow this tree primarily for oilseed production. In Norh America and Europe it is grown as an ornimental tree with profuse flowers that can cover the tree completely.


Fatty Acid carbon/double bond count percentage
 Palmitic acid C16.0 5.0%
 Stearic acid C18.0 2.0%
 Oleic acid C18.1 30.0%
 Linoleic acid C18.2 42.9%
 Linolenic acid C18.3 0.3%
  C20.1 7.2%
  C20.2 0.9%
 Erucic acid C22.1 9.1%
  C24.1 2.6%



 Please note that all of the oil related research papers on this tree have been written by a handfull of people all working at the same research station in China. As of now I have not been able to obtain independent verification of the oil related information.  There are common complaints of this species not flowering and being difficult to propogate if it produces seeds.



Related Links:

Permaculture Plants: Yellowhorn

 KEW Royal Botanical Gardens - Yellowhorn

Yellow-horn Tree - Great link with an exceptional writeup of the tree. - yellowhorn