Sources of Natural Rubber

Hevea brasiliensis (Rubber Tree)

The rubber tree will grow to be 100 to 130 feet in height, and live to be 100 years old. Its white sap, which is latex, flows from the tree when bark is removed. A rubber tree can be tapped for latex when it is six years of age.

rubber tree

Parthenium argentatum (Guayule)

A flowering shrub that is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, the plant can be used as an alternate source of latex that is also hypoallergenic, unlike the normal Hevea rubber. The name "guayule" derives from the Nahuatl word ulli/olli, "rubber." Because the guayule plant produces terpene resins, which are natural pesticides, it is resistant to many pests and diseases. The guayule plant has seen a growing resurgence in research and agriculture due to its hypoallergenic properties because Hevea-derived rubber contains proteins that can cause severe allergic reactions. Guayule performs like Hevea in stretchability.


Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TK)

TK is a perennial plant with a yellow composite flower. It is a species of dandelion native to Kazakhstan that is notable for its production of high quality rubber. Latex is produced in the roots of the plant and has very similar properties of Hevea rubber. TK is being studied here at OARDC to create a sustainable production crop for Ohio and the U.S.