Rubber trees are commercially grown for the milky latex which can be extracted from the tree. This latex is the primary source of natural rubber.
Natural rubber can be produced from several other plants, but about 95% of all natural rubber comes from the Pará rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis.
Para rubber tree
Árbol del caucho
Albero della gomma
Basic information and facts
The Pará rubber tree originates from the Amazon Rainforest. The scientific name Hevea brasiliensis refers to its origin in Brazil.
Most rubber trees are grown in Asia, mainly in he three largest producing countries, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Evergreen or deciduous:
Para rubber is a deciduous tree.
Climate and weather:
The tree requires a hot and humid climate with a lot of rainfall. The trees cannot tolerate frost.
Rubber trees can be up to 30 m tall, but are usually smaller when grown in commercial plantations.
Rubber trees are often grown in plantations with about 250 to 300 trees per hectare. When inter-cropped, for example with coffee, wider spacing may be used.
Rubber trees are propagated by seeds or by buddings (or a combination of both).
Latex harvesters use metal tools to make incisions across the latex vessels in the bark of the tree. The latex is then collected in small buckets attached to the tree. The cuts have to be deep enough to tap the vessels but should not harm the growth of the tree.
The latex is used to make natural rubber, which in turn can be used to make all kind of products including: rubber bands, pencil erasers, gloves, boots, adhesives, aircraft tires, inner tubes, condoms (also called rubbers), and toy balloons.
Proverbs and Quotes
- With a rubber duck, one’s never alone.
- Love is like a rubber-band held at both ends by two people, when one leaves it hurts the other.
Did you know that?
- Harvesting latex from rubber trees is called “rubber tapping”.
- Tapping of latex can start when trees are 5 to 8 years old. Older trees produce more latex.
- The word “rubber” can refer to the elastic substance made from latex, but is also used for boots, for condoms, and for erasers for pencil or ink marks.