Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. ex A. Juss.) Muell. Arg.
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Siphonia brasiliensis Willd. ex A. Juss.
International Common Names
- English: Para rubber
- Spanish: caucho; hevea; hule; jebe; siringa
- French: arbre a caoutchouc; caoutchouc; caoutchouc de Para; hévéa
- Arabic: lastik barâ
- Portuguese: seringueira
Local Common Names
- Brunei Darussalam: kayu getah; kayu keret; pokok getah para
- Cambodia: kausuu
- Germany: Heveakautschukbaum; Parakautschukbaum
- Indonesia: karet; kayu getah; kayu keret; pokok getah para
- Italy: albero del caucciu; evea
- Laos: jaang
- Malaysia: getah asli; kayu getah; kayu keret; pokok getah para
- Myanmar: kyetpaung
- Netherlands: Rubberboom
- Sweden: brasilianskt Gummitraed
- Thailand: yang phara
- Vietnam: cao su
- HVEBR (Hevea brasiliensis)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The following summary is from Witt and Luke (2017):
Large evergreen tree (to 40 m tall) with a straight trunk (50 cm in diameter), branching at top to form a dense canopy.
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.
Reason for Introduction
Timber and rubber.
Roadsides, disturbed areas and forest gaps/edges.
Introduced as a plantation crop, it has escaped cultivation and established dense stands, to the possible detriment of native plant and animal species.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Euphorbiales
- Family: Euphorbiaceae
- Genus: Hevea
- Species: Hevea brasiliensis
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page At present some 10 species are distinguished in Hevea, including H. brasiliensis, H. benthamiana, H. camargoana, H. camporum, H. guianensis, H. microphylla, H. nitida, H. pauciflora, H. rigidifolia and H. spruceana. Only H. brasiliensis, H. guianensis and H. benthamiana yield usable rubber, the latex of other species being undesirable due to its high resin and low rubber content. However, other Hevea species possess desirable traits which could be used for breeding purposes (for example, better wood strength, disease resistance and dwarfing). Dwarfing is found in H. camargoana and H. nitida var. toxicodendroides. H. microphylla is unique in Hevea in having pistillate flowers with a conspicuously swollen torus.
DescriptionTop of page A tree, 30-40 m tall, about 15 m when cultivated. Root system massive, taproot 1-2 m long, laterals spreading to about 10 m. Trunk cylindrical, bark smooth to slightly corky, pale to dark brown. Branching varying considerably; shape conical with light branches emerging from a prominent main stem, broom- or fan-shaped with four to five heavy branches coming out of a main stem, or stem leader dominated by a diffuse array of heavy branches. Leaves alternate or subopposite at apex of shoot, trifoliolate, petioles long with apical glands; stipules deciduous. Leaflets elliptic or obovate, 4-50 x 1.5-15 cm, entire and pinnately veined. Flowers in axillary panicles on basal part of new flush, unisexual, with bell-shaped, 5-lobed perianth, bright yellow on ripening; male flowers smaller than and outnumbering the female flowers, attached at the base of the lateral branchlets of the inflorescence, with a staminal column with 10 sessile anthers spirally arranged; female flowers located at the apices of the main and lateral branchlets of the inflorescence, with a green disk at base and a superior, 3-celled ovary terminated by 3 sessile sticky stigmas. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule, 3-5 cm in diameter, light brown when mature. One seed per carpel, ovoid, about 1 x 2 cm.
DistributionTop of page The centre of origin of natural rubber covers part of the Amazon Basin, parts of Matto Grosso (Upper Orinoco) and the Guianas. Geographically, wild and semi-wild Hevea is found in the northern part of South America from Brazil to Venezuela and from Colombia to Peru and Bolivia.
Natural rubber was first introduced into South-East Asia from the Neotropics in 1876. Early attempts to encourage its planting were not well received. However, with the arrival and expansion of the motor car industry and the increased demand for natural rubber, it soon grew into an important plantation crop in a number of tropical and subtropical countries. Today, rubber is grown in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China in Asia, as well as Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia and Gabon in Africa. In South America, particularly in Brazil, despite the massive opening up of new land for rubber cultivation, production continues to be hampered by the major leaf disease South American leaf blight (Microcyclus ulei).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|Cameroon||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 52,000 MT (F)|
|Central African Republic||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 1,000 MT (F)|
|Congo, Republic of the||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 1,350 MT (F)|
|Côte d'Ivoire||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 188,532 MT (F)|
|Gabon||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 12,000 MT (F)|
|Ghana||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 13,500 MT (*)|
|Guinea||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 13,900 MT (*)|
|Guinea-Bissau||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Liberia||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 81,000 MT (*)|
|Mali||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Nigeria||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 143,000 MT (F)|
|Sierra Leone||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|Tanzania||Present||Introduced||Naturalized||Witt and Luke (2017); CABI (Undated)||Naturalized|
|Uganda||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|Bangladesh||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 5,300 MT (F)|
|Brunei||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 220 MT (F)|
|Cambodia||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 31,676 MT|
|China||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 565,000 MT (F)|
|India||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 819,000 MT (F)|
|-Andaman and Nicobar Islands||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Assam||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Karnataka||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Kerala||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Tamil Nadu||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|Indonesia||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 2,921,872 MT|
|-Irian Jaya||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Java||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Maluku Islands||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Sulawesi||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Sumatra||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|Malaysia||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 1,072,400 MT|
|-Peninsular Malaysia||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Sabah||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Sarawak||Present||Planted||CABI (Undated a)|
|Myanmar||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 45,000 MT (F)|
|Philippines||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 411,044 MT|
|Singapore||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Sri Lanka||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 129,240 MT|
|Thailand||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 3,193,213 MT|
|Vietnam||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 659,600 MT|
|Costa Rica||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Dominican Republic||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 12 MT (F)|
|Guatemala||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 70,000 MT (F)|
|Mexico||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 27,709 MT (F)|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 4,700 MT (F)|
|Bolivia||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 12,000 MT (F)|
|Brazil||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 114,000 MT (F)|
|-Acre||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Alagoas||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Amapa||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Amazonas||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Bahia||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Ceara||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Espirito Santo||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Fernando de Noronha||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Goias||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Maranhao||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Mato Grosso||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Mato Grosso do Sul||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Minas Gerais||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Para||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Paraiba||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Parana||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Pernambuco||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Piaui||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Rio de Janeiro||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Rio Grande do Norte||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Rio Grande do Sul||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Rondonia||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Roraima||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Santa Catarina||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Sao Paulo||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|-Sergipe||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|Colombia||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Ecuador||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 13,750 MT (F)|
|Paraguay||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|Peru||Present||FAO (2009)||Natural rubber production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Uruguay||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
|Venezuela||Present||CABI (Undated a)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page Growth and Development
Germination of seeds usually takes place 7-10 days after sowing. Seedlings and buddings exhibit growth periodicity. Terminal buds of main stems produce long internodes with leaves clustered towards the end of them. The shoot pushes out vertically, slowly for 2-3 days, then rapidly before tailing off for 1-2 days. The energy for growth is then diverted into leaf development. Leaf petioles and leaf blades show the same kind of growth as the shoot, but the blades go on growing for 3-4 days longer than the petioles. When their growth ceases, the blades change colour from dark reddish to light green, and continue to droop. During the next stage the leaves rise to the horizontal position after which they become dark green. A complete cycle takes about 36 days, 18 for extension growth and 18 for leaf development. Subsequent growth proceeds in similar cycles, and as the plant grows, the leaves appear in whorls.
Branching begins about 1 year after sowing, depending on the clone. The more vigorous clones branch early whereas the less vigorous can take up to a year. The branches appear sequentially and the number ranges from 4-8 in one storey. They emerge from axillary buds. One-year-old seedlings may already be 2.5 m tall. After the first year of growth, the plants will then go through a phase of rapid vegetative growth for the next 4 years before they start flowering and fruiting.
After branching, girth development starts and growth periodicity is less pronounced. Girth development decreases when trees are tapped. To prevent wind damage a rather short tree with a symmetrical crown starting about 3 m above ground level is preferred. When trees reach a certain age they partly or completely shed their leaves, usually once a year. The intensity of leaf shedding, usually called wintering, depends on climatic conditions and varies with clone. A dry period of 1 month or longer causes partial or complete leaf fall. This causes a drop in latex production especially during refoliation. Along with new leaves, flowers are produced. Both self- and cross-pollination are carried out by small insects. Self-incompatibility occurs in some clones. Only a small proportion of female flowers set fruit and afterwards many of the fruitlets are shed. Even with hand pollination no more than five of the pollinated female flowers develop into mature fruit. This development takes about 5 months. Seeds are viable only for a few days. Storage in sealed containers with damp sawdust can extend the viability period to 1 month.
Rubber is a crop of the lowland tropics grown between 6°N and 6°S. Attempts to cultivate rubber as far south as the Sao Paolo region in Brazil and as far north as Mexico and Guangdong Province in China have met with some degree of success. The optimum day temperature is 26-28°C. Preferably rubber should not be planted at altitudes above 400-500 m because the low ambient temperature retards girth growth, delays tapping, and reduces latex production.
The annual rainfall requirement ranges from 2000 to 3000 mm with 170-200 rainy days. A well-distributed annual rainfall of 1500 mm is considered the lower limit for commercial production. In Indonesia, the best areas for rubber production have annual rainfall totals as high as 400 mm. In high rainfall areas, soils should have good internal drainage. A large number of rainy days, especially with rain in the morning, is undesirable because it disrupts the tapping schedule. Rubber can also tolerate a 2-3 month drought period in some areas. A dry period of 1 month or longer causes partial or complete leaf fall. Wind is an important factor because it may snap trunks and branches.
Owing to its extensive root system rubber needs a well-drained, root-penetrable soil, at least 1 m deep with an adequate moisture storage capacity. Temporary waterlogging with flowing water causes little damage. It can be grown in soils ranging from sandy to red lateritic and yellow podzols, young volcanic soils, alluvial clays and peat soil. Rubber is less demanding in terms of soil fertility and topography than other tree crops such as oil palm and cocoa, and is often planted on land which is not suitable for these crops.
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||10|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||26||27|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||24||33|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||20||32|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||3||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||1500||3600||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page Uniform
Soil TolerancesTop of page
UsesTop of page The rubber tree, when tapped, produces a milky liquid (latex). The latex can be processed into latex concentrate, sheet rubber or block rubber; it is marketed to manufacturers as natural raw rubber.
The main users of natural raw rubber are tyre manufacturers who consume 60-70% of the total world volume of natural rubber produced. The balance is divided among manufacturers of rubber car components (for example, producing engine mountings, bushes, weather strips, V-belts, hoses and joint rings), manufacturers of engineering components (building mounts, anti-vibration mounts, dock fenders, flooring and high-quality sheeting), and manufacturers of consumer products (such as footwear, sports goods, toys, gloves, latex threads, catheters, swimming caps and condoms).
When felled for replanting, the rubber tree is also sawn to give rubber wood (timber). With proper treatment, it can be used for high-value-added products like furniture, particleboeard, parquet flooring and many other wood products. Rubber wood can also be converted into fuel charcoal.
Seeds contain a semi-drying oil that can be used in making paints and soap and has some potential as a local fuel.
Uses ListTop of page
- Carved material
- Essential oils
Wood ProductsTop of page
Sawn or hewn building timbers
- Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
- For light construction
- Wall panelling
- Laminated veneer lumber
- Laminated wood
- Medium density fibreboard
- Wood cement
- Industrial and domestic woodware
- Tool handles
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Witt A, Luke Q, 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa. [ed. by Witt A, Luke Q]. Wallingford, UK: CABI. vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 DOI:10.1079/9781786392145.0000
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