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The Varieties Of Natural Rubber

The major commercial source of natural rubber latex is the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), a member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. This species is widely used because it grows well under cultivation and a properly managed tree responds to wounding by producing more latex for several years.
Congo rubber, formerly a major source of rubber, came from vines in the genus Landolphia (L. kirkii, L. heudelotis, and L. owariensis). These cannot be cultivated, and the intense drive to collect latex from wild plants was responsible for many of the atrocities committed under the Congo Free State.
Many other plants produce forms of latex rich in isoprene polymers, though not all produce usable forms of polymer as easily as the Pará rubber tree does; some of them require more elaborate processing to produce anything like usable rubber, and most are more difficult to tap. Some produce other desirable materials, for example gutta-percha (Palaquium gutta)[3] and chicle fromManilkara species. Others that have been commercially exploited, or at least have shown promise as sources of rubber, include the rubber fig (Ficus elastica), Panama rubber tree (Castilla elastica), various spurges (Euphorbia spp.), lettuce (Lactuca species), the related Scorzonera tau-saghyz, various Taraxacum species, including common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and Russian dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz), and perhaps most importantly for its hypoallergenic properties, guayule (Parthenium argentatum). The term gum rubber is sometimes applied to the tree-obtained version of natural rubber in order to distinguish it from the synthetic version.