This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, eu, well, and kommi, gum; alluding to the fact that the plant contains rubber). Eucommiaceae. Deciduous tree grown for its handsome foliage and also for its possibility as a hardy rubber-producing tree.
Branches with laminate pith: winter-buds conspicuous, with imbricate scales: leaves alternate, petioled, serrate, without stipules: flowers dioecious, without perianth, solitary in the axils of bracts at the base of the young shoots and precocious; staminate flowers pedicelled; stamens 6-10 with very short filaments and elongated linear anthers; pistillate flowers short-pedicelled with a 1-celled, 2-ovuled stipitate ovary, bifid at the apex, the lobes stigmatic on the inside: fruit a compressed winged nutlet. - -One species in Cent. China, not closely related to any other genus; it was first placed with the Trochodendraceae or Magnohaceae and afterward with the Hamamelidaceae, but is now generally considered as representing a distinct family allied to the last named.
Eucommia is an upright-growing vigorous tree with rather large elliptic dark green foliage, inconspicuous precocious flowers and winged fruits; in habit and foliage it resembles somewhat an elm tree. In China the bark is a most valued medicine. The tree contains rubber in all its parts, particularly in the young growth and in the bark. Though the rubber has proved to be of good quality, it is apparently difficult of extraction and not present in sufficient quantity to make the commercial exploitation of the tree pay; therefore the hopes which have been set in this "hardy rubber tree" will probably never realize. The tree has proved perfectly hardy as far north as Massachusetts and grows well in a loamy humid soil. Propagation is by seeds and by greenwood cuttings under glass.
Oliver. Tree, to 60 ft.: leaves elliptic to elliptic-ovate, acuminate, broadly cuneate at the base, serrate, glabrous, glossy and dark green above, pubescent below when young, 3-7 in. long: samara oblong, bifid at the apex, 1 1/4 - 1 1/2in- long. April; fruit in Oct. Cent. China. H.I. 20:1950. R.H. 1909, p. 226. M.D.G. 1912:11, 613. Alfred Rehder.