Hevea brasiliensis, the Pará rubber tree, sharinga tree, seringueira,
or, most commonly, the rubber tree or rubber plant, is a tree
belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. It is the most economically
important member of the genus
Hevea because the milky latex extracted
from the tree is the primary source of natural rubber.
2 Rubber tree plantation
2.2 Wood harvesting
4 Environmental concerns
6 See also
9 External links
H. brasiliensis is a tall deciduous tree growing to a height of up to
43 m (141 ft) in the wild, but cultivated trees are usually
much smaller because drawing off the latex restricts the growth of the
tree. The trunk is cylindrical and may have a swollen, bottle-shaped
base. The bark is some shade of brown, and the inner bark oozes latex
when damaged. The leaves have three leaflets and are spirally
arranged. The inflorescence include separate male and female flowers.
The flowers are pungent, creamy-yellow and have no petals. The fruit
is a capsule that contains three large seeds; it opens explosively
Rubber tree plantation
Rubber tree seeds
In the wild, the tree can reach a height of up to 140 feet
(43 m). The white or yellow latex occurs in latex vessels in the
bark, mostly outside the phloem. These vessels spiral up the tree in a
right-handed helix which forms an angle of about 30 degrees with the
horizontal, and can grow as high as 45 ft.
In plantations, the trees are generally smaller for two reasons: 1)
trees grow more slowly when they are tapped for latex, and 2) trees
are generally cut down after only 30 years, because latex production
declines as trees age, and they are no longer economically productive.
The tree requires a tropical or subtropical climate with a minimum of
about 1,200 mm per year of rainfall, and no frost. If frost
does occur, the results can be disastrous for production. One frost
can cause the rubber from an entire plantation to become brittle and
break once it has been refined."
Main article: Rubber tapping
Rubber tree trunk
Latex being collected from an incised rubber tree and a bucket of
Harvesters make incisions across the latex vessels, just deep enough
to tap the vessels without harming the tree's growth, and the latex is
collected in small buckets. This process is known as rubber tapping.
Latex production is highly variable from tree to tree and across clone
Main article: Rubberwood
As latex production declines with age, rubber trees are generally
felled when they reach the age of 25 to 30 years. The earlier practice
was to burn the trees, but in recent decades, the wood has been
harvested for furniture making.
The South American rubber tree in the Amazon rainforest, increasing
demand and the discovery of the vulcanization procedure in 1839 led to
the rubber boom in that region, enriching the cities of Belém,
Manaus and Iquitos, Peru, of 1840 to 1913. In Brazil, the
initial name of the plant was pará rubber tree. The name of the tree
derives from Grão-Pará and Rio Negro or only Grão-Pará
(Great-Pará), the largest Brazilian province until 1850, the capital
of which is Belém, where most of the fluid, also called latex, was
extracted and exported. In Peru, in addition to the hispanic-speaking
countries of the Amazon region, the name given was árbol del caucho,
with the fluid extracted called caucho. These trees were used to
obtain rubber by the natives who inhabited its geographical
Olmec people of
Mesoamerica extracted and produced
similar forms of primitive rubber from analogous latex-producing trees
Castilla elastica as early as 3,600 years ago. The rubber was
used, among other things, to make the balls used in the Mesoamerican
ballgame. Early attempts were made in 1873 to grow H. brasilensis
outside Brazil. After some effort, 12 seedlings were germinated at the
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. These were sent to
India for cultivation,
but died. A second attempt was then made, some 70,000 seeds being
smuggled to Kew in 1875, by Henry Wickham, in the service of the
British Empire.:55 About four percent of these germinated,
and in 1876, about 2,000 seedlings were sent, in Wardian cases, to
Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) and 22 were sent to the Botanic Gardens
in Singapore. Once established outside its native country, rubber was
extensively propagated in the British colonies. Rubber trees were
brought to the botanical gardens at Buitenzorg, Java, in 1883. By
1898, a rubber plantation had been established in Malaya, with
imported Chinese field workers being the dominant work force in rubber
production in the early 20th-century. Today, most rubber tree
plantations are in South and Southeast Asia, the top rubber producing
countries in 2011 being Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia,
Efforts to cultivate the tree in South America (Amazon) were
unsatisfactory because of blight. The blight, called South American
leaf blight, is caused by the ascomycetes, Microcyclus ulei or
The toxicity of arsenic to insects, bacteria, and fungi has led to the
heavy use of arsenic trioxide on rubber plantations, especially in
The majority of the rubber trees in
Southeast Asia are clones of
varieties highly susceptible to the South American leaf
blight—Microcyclus ulei. For these reasons, environmental historian
Charles C. Mann, in his 2011 book, 1493: Uncovering the New World
Columbus Created, predicted that the Southeast Asian rubber
plantations will be ravaged by the blight in the not-too-distant
future, thus creating a potential calamity for international
Hevea is also known as:
Benn. & R.Br.
Schreb. ex Baill.
Siphonia D.Richard ex Schreb.
Siphopnicna F.Jansen ex Schreb.
Castilla elastica—the principal source of latex rubber among the
pre-Columbian MesoAmerican peoples
List of plants of Amazon Rainforest vegetation of Brazil
Red Rubber Scandal—was one of the first humanitarian global
campaigns but concerned the rubber vine species
Rubber seed oil
Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. ex A.Juss.) Müll.Arg". Plants of the
World online. Kew Science. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
^ a b c "Rubber tapping". FAO. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
^ a b "Elastomer-The rubber tree", Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008
^ "The rubber tree". FAO. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
^ Langenheim, J.H. (13 January 2010). "Introduction to Rubber Usage
among the Maya". Maya Archaeology. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
^ "The Brazilian Armed Forces: Current changes, new challenges",
Dreifuss, R. Armand. International Seminar Research Committee Armed
Forces and Society, Romania, 2002. Retrieved August 19, 2009 from
"Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-07-31.
^ "Amazon - The Animation", Greepeace Digital. Artificial
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Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
^ "Seringueira", Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre, 2009. Retrieved
August 19, 2009 from
^ "Acre: História e etnologia", Marco António Gonçalves (Org.).
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UFRJ, n/d. Retrieved August 19, 2009 from
^ Winchester, Simon (2003). Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded,
August 27, 1883. HarperCollins. pp. 223–224.
^ Harold A. Crouch, Economic Change, Social Structure, and the
Political System in Southeast Asia, Institute of Southeast Asian
Singapore 1985, pp. 16–17 ISBN 9971-988-23-2
^ "The Top 5 Rubber Producing Countries". Top 5 of Anything. Retrieved
29 May 2017.
^ South American Leaf
Blight of rubber (Microcyclus ulei),
^ Erasing the Past: A New Identity for the Damoclean Pathogen Causing
South American Leaf
Blight of Rubber
^ Sabina C. Grund, Kunibert Hanusch, Hans Uwe Wolf (2005), "Arsenic
and Arsenic Compounds", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial
Chemistry, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH,
doi:10.1002/14356007.a03_113.pub2 CS1 maint: Multiple names:
authors list (link)
^ Mann, Charles C. (2011). 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus
Created. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-26572-2.
Brazilian Association of Rubber Goods—ABIARB
National Association Tire Industry—ANIP (Brazil)
Sao Paulo's Association of Rubber Producers and Processors—APABOR
Bio ecological production of rubber without fertilizing in
Brazilian Natural Rubber
LATEKS magazine (Brazil)
Seringueira.com - Brazilian rubber tree consulting
Zhang, J., Huss, V.A.R., Sun, X., Chang, K. and Pan, D. 2008.
Morphology and phylogenetic position of a trebouxiophycean green algae
(Chlorophyta) growing on the rubber tree,
Hevea brasiliensis, with the
description of a new genus and species. Eur. J. Phycol. 43(2):
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