Rubber Vine
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Rubber Vine
ntroduced ovate Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Rubber vine • Hindi: Rubber ki bel रबर की बेल • Tamil: பாலை Palai • Marathi: Vilyati-Vakundi • Kannada: ಹಂಬುರಬ್ಬರ್ Hambu rubber gida • Malayalam: pala, palay • Telugu: ganta paala, rabbarutheega
Botanical name: Cryptostegia grandiflora    Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)

Rubber vine is a self supporting, scrambling, many-stemmed vine that grows to 2 metres tall with long trailing whips. Flowers are large and showy, with five white to light purple petals in a funnel shape. The flowers resemble those of the purple Allamanda (Allamanda violacea) A milky sap oozes from stems, leaves and seedpods when cut or broken. The Rubber Vine originates from Madagascar and was formerly grown there and later in India to produce a poor quality rubber latex. Leaves are dark green and glossy, 6-10 cm long, 3-5 cm wide and in opposite pairs, oblong-ovate to elliptic-ovate. Roots go very deep, and have been found at a depth of 13 meters in mine shafts. Roots of seedlings are twice as long as shoots. The growth form of rubber vine differs depending on the surrounding conditions. They can form dense canopies of overlapping plants with long whips, form towers upto 30mts high the height of native trees and grow as freestanding shrubs in the absence of other vegetation. The seedpods are rigid, 10-12 cm long, 3-4 cm wide and grow in pairs at the end of a short stalk. The Rubber Vine is poisonous it contains glucosides interfering with the heart, and ingesting will provoke stomach and intestinal upset.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Tibetan Market, Delhi & Mumbai.

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