Most people usually only see rubber trees in pots. For years they have been widely used and sold as popular house plants for decoration. Some people don’t even realize that they can be used for making rubber. Commonly seen as being only one to four feet tall, rubber trees can exceed a height of twenty feet in the Amazon, where they are allowed to grow as high as they want.
While trees here are used for their beauty, in the Amazon, and other places of the world, they are cultivated for their sap. The white sap is a natural form of latex, which is then used for the production and the manufacture of rubber. The scientific name for the plant is “Hevea brasiliensis” it is in the Euphorbiaceae family. The plant has large, flat, oval shaped leaves which vary in color from a dark brownish purple, to a dark green. The stems are woody and have a thin layer of light brown bark, the only place where the stem doesn’t have bark is at the top where new leaves are sprouted. Rubber trees are easy to sell because they can be reproduced from rooted cuttings from multiple plants. Every branch that is grown on the tree can be cut off and placed in soil to create a new plant, that has identical DNA to the original. Rubber trees can also reproduce form seeds but this does not happen often because they usually won’t flower until they reach a height of over 20 feet.
Care for a rubber tree at home is actually quite simple. Rubber trees only need to be watered periodically, let the soil dry out then drench the soil with a large amount of water so that the rubber tree can get a good drink. Rubber trees require a good amount of sunlight, make sure you have a window that allows a lot of sunlight in. In the summer time, you can place the plant outside so it can get more light. If you don’t have any windows in your house with adequate light, the plant will lean toward the window, make sure you turn the plant so that it does not become distorted. As for pests, the rubber tree does not have many. Their white sap is usually unattractive for insects and other harmful bugs.
Rubber trees are easy to grow and can end up becoming beautiful foliage plants. If they get too big, they can easily be cut down and split into multiple plants. They can be sold, transported, and grown at a low cost to the consumer. Plus, without them, it would be hard to find a new source of natural rubber, nor would we be able to find the chemicals necessary to produce synthetic rubber. The rubber tree is a huge contributor to past and present society.
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