Para Rubber Tree
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Para Rubber Tree
D Introduced Tree trifoliate Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Para Rubber Tree, Rubber tree
Botanical name: Hevea brasiliensis    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Hevea sieberi, Hevea randiana

Para Rubber Tree is a deciduous tree, typically 30-40 m tall, though usually 15-25 m tall in cultivation, with a leafy crown. The trunk is cylindrical, but frequently swollen towards the base, and the bark is pale to dark brown with a smooth surface and the inner bark pale brown with abundant white or cream coloured latex. The leaves are in spirals and with three leaflets. The flowers are small with no petals, bright or cream-yellow in colour and extremely pungent.They are either male or female but both are found in the same inflorescence. The fruit is an exploding 3-lobed capsule. In the wild, trees may grow to over 40 m and live for 100 years, but in plantations they rarely exceed 25 m because growth is reduced by tapping for rubber. Plantation trees are usually replanted after 25-35 years when yields fall to an uneconomic level. The milky latex of Para Rubber Tree is the raw material for natural rubber. Wild and semi-wild Para Rubber Tree is found in the northern part of South America, from Brazil to Venezuela, and Colombia to Peru and Bolivia. Rubber is now grown in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China, India and Papua New Guinea in Asia, as well as in Africa.

Identification credit: Anurag Sharma Photographed in Hebri, Karnataka.

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