Rubber plant - I’d tap that

by zoe | 21.01.2014 | house plant , ficus elastica , rubber plant | 0 comments | Rating: 1 votes

ficus elastica

ficus elastica

ficus elastica

Rate it:

It’s a pretty unassuming plant, but the Ficus elastica is as dirty as the plant world gets. We’re not talking mud and soil dirty... ficus is the rubber tree, a source of rubber and latex – in short, fetishists wouldn’t know where they’d be without it.

But given its naughty side, the rubber plant is surprisingly difficult to cultivate. It can’t cope with frosts, wind or rain and has to be kept indoors. It also takes up to 20 years to reach full maturity, although in its natural habitat can normally be tapped for its precious sap for the first time after around 6 years.

Workers access sap by making shallow cuts into the tree’s bark to tap into the sap, and collecting it each day from the tree – normally around a litre per day. This is then processed to make a variety of toys (for children and adults), waterproof (and wipe-clean) clothes, medical equipment and other rubber products.

With its big waxy leaves (which are in some plants variegated) and rectangular yellow fruit, the rubber plant can be an interesting addition to your houseplant collection. Just be warned that

a) Rubber plants (Ficus elastica) can grow up to 150 foot high. That’s pretty big for a houseplant...

b) Its fruits „burst open when ripe, scattering its many seeds in an area spanning up to 100 feet from the tree“ (told you it was dirty)

c) You’ll never be quite sure what it’s getting up to at night...


Image Source: margaretshear  (some rights reserved

Written by zoe

I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree - Joyce Kilmer (1913)

Follow me on:

gardens by the bay PREVIOUS ARTICLE:

Be seen in the right places: Flower Shows in 2014

by Natasha Starkell
moon flower NEXT ARTICLE:

Don’t like your plants? Send them to space.

by zoe

Popular articles