Rubber Plant: Introduction, Classification, Morphological Characters, Growing season, and Uses
The Rubber tree is native to South American rain forests, and it is typically found in tropical regions close to the equator. Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela are all countries in South America where rubber trees can be found. The conspicuous trifoliate leaves, separate male and female flowers generated at the same inflorescence, and a trilocular capsule fruit pod that contains three seeds, which contain latex in nearly every part of the tree, are characteristics of rubber trees. Five years after planting, they start to flower, although they rarely open at the same time, which promotes cross-pollination. Rubber tree latex has various advantages that make it a valuable raw resource for numerous goods. The inner bark of a rubber tree contains a cluster of particular cells known as laticifers, or latex vessels, which are harvested to produce latex by slicing through the outer layers of the bark structure. Multiple unique soft and hard layers combine to generate the bark structure. The laticifers that finally give rise to rows of cells as concentric cylinders of parenchyma tissues and tube cells are known as soft bark. Within this species, the bark thickness varies, and the surface colour ranges from reddish purple to dark purple and from pale brown to brown. Young rubber trees occasionally even have a brown-green striped bark. The size of the seeds varies, but they typically exhibit dark brown or grey-brown mottling. Additionally, this species produces thick, green fruit capsules with three lobes and seeds.
Species: F. elastica
Scientific Name: Ficus elastica
Common Name(s): The Rubber Fig, Rubber bush, Rubber tree, Rubber plant, Fig tree of the rubber
1. A large, evergreen, strangling tree that may grow up to 55 meters tall and has many aerial roots that sprout from the trunk and the main branches but don’t get thick enough to create “pillar roots.” It typically starts as an epiphyte in its natural habitat before strangling the host to resemble a huge banyan-type fig.
2. It is a large tree of the banyan group of figs that can reach heights of 30 to 40 meters (98 to 131 feet) and, on rare occasions, 60 meters (200 feet). Its sturdy trunk can measure up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) in diameter.
3. Aerial and buttressing roots form on the trunk to assist it to become rooted in the ground and sustain large branches.
4. It has broad shiny oval leaves that are 10–35 centimeters (3.9–13.8 in) long and 5–15 centimeters (2.0–5.9 in) wide; the size of the leaves is greatest on young plants (sometimes reaching 45 centimeters or 18 inches long), while they are much smaller on old trees (typically 10 centimeters or 3.9 inches long).
5. The apical meristem, where the leaves sprout, has a sheath that encloses them as they develop. When fully grown, it unfolds and the sheath detaches from the plant. Another immature leaf is awaiting development inside the new leaf.
6. Simple, spirally-arranged leaves with petiole 2.5–10 cm and stipules 3–10 cm. The leaf blade is leathery, oblong-elliptic to obovate, 9–30 5–12 cm, with whole edges and an abrupt short-acuminate or apiculate tip.
7. Unisexual, sessile, and inconspicuous flowers.
8. Fruit is a drupelet that is oblong-ovoid, greenish-yellow, sessile, glabrous, and measures 9-12 mm by 8-9 mm. The basal bracts are only about 3 mm long and fall off extremely early, leaving annular scars from the stipules. Smooth on the outside, the inner bark is pale pink and secretes white latex; twigs are hairless.
9. Only female agaonid wasps from that particular species may fertilize figs. Blastophaga clavigera is the fig-wasp linked to F. elastica. The wasps arrive in F. elastica when the female flowers are ready to reproduce. F. elastica often blooms outdoors throughout the year, but rarely indoors. While various trees of the same species flower out of synchronization, causing cross-pollination, the figs on a single tree mature at the same time.
Growing season and Type
1) Water is very important to rubber plants when they are growing, but not all the time. Once the soil has substantially dried out, water them very thoroughly, and then wait until it does so once more.
2) Rubber tree plant growth can certainly be characterized as moderately quick. Many owners summer their plants outside because they believe it promotes a quick growth of new leaves.
3) Be careful not to overexpose to the sun, and keep an eye out for humid summers. Extremely pot-bound plants won’t grow over the winter.
Rubber or latex: All natural rubber applications, including tyres, rubber parts for vehicles and machinery, and consumer items including footwear, sporting goods, toys, and gloves, contain latex from the bark of the stem and larger branches. This use is currently seldom ever used. To make split rattan baskets waterproof centuries ago, latex was used to line the baskets. This chemical can cause allergies to eating or skin contact.
Food: In Java, the incredibly young leaf tips have been consumed as a vegetable.
Fiber: The fibrous bark has been used to make ropes and clothing.
Wood: Although occasionally used for boards, posts, boats, and fuel, the wood is of poor quality.
Shade or shelter: excellent for decks, patios, planters, or buffer strips surrounding parking lots. It can be trained to grow into a shade tree. There has no known urban tolerance because of its massive growth and buttressing roots, which could harm surrounding structures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: what is a Rubber plant?
Ans: The Fig family includes the big glabrous tree species known as the rubber plant. The majority of people identify this species as the common “rubber tree plant” that many homes keep as an indoor plant, however it may grow to a height of 20 feet or more in an unrestricted environment. Oblong-shaped leaves on rubber plants can grow up to one foot long. These leaves are extremely shiny and thick. Some of the plant’s variants are red- or white-variegated.
Question: How do we propagate it?
Ans: Air layering and terminal cuttings are two methods of propagation.
Question: How do I take care of my Rubber tree?
Ans: Ficus elastica Bright indirect sunlight is ideal for rubber trees. The plants are distinguished by their enormous, oval burgundy leaves. It is here housed in a matte-white ceramic container with texturing. Once a week, check the soil for moisture. If it’s dry, add roughly a cup of water, keeping in mind that any more should be avoided because it will collect at the bottom. For optimal results, mist leaves frequently and stay out of draughts.
The ideal lighting is direct, bright light. A few hours of early sun are fine, but too much will make the leaves bland. will grow lanky under dim lighting. Dust departs regularly to make sure they can
Leaves to care
Easy! Make sure it receives enough sunlight, and avoid overwatering.
During the growing season, treat indoor plants with liquid fertilizer about 1-2 times per month. Fertilize not during the winter.
Pruning and Propagation
By rupturing the leaf node, prune any damaged leaves. can shape and control height by trimming fresh growth. It is challenging to propagate outside of greenhouse conditions.
once a week or so. Let the soil’s top 2 inches dry out. Wintertime sees less water.
prefers warm, muggy weather between 60 and 75 degrees. Avoid using air conditioners and windows that let in draughts.
Use an all-purpose potting soil that drains well. Every year, young plants should be transferred. Once grown, replant every two to three years to make way for the extensive root network.
Question: What are the uses of Rubber Plant?
Ans: The rubber plant is most frequently used as a floor plant in homes.
Question: Where is it cultivated? How do we cultivate it?
Ans: Moderate sunlight and proper moisture are ideal for a rubber plant. The leaves fall off when the soil dries out. It is suitable to have a warm temperature that resembles a tropical setting.
Question: What are the main issues with it?
Ans: Mealybugs and anthracnose may be a concern for rubber plants.