Rubber tree plants are a fast-growing species of broadleaf evergreen tree called Ficus elastica. They are native to the rainforest region of South America as well as
the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, the Himalayas, India, Nepal and Java, a large and densely populated Indonesian island. They are often used as houseplants in
colder climates and as ornamental trees where climates are warmer. The plant is considered to be non-toxic to both adults and kids, but when ingested by dogs, it can
be very toxic. This is why it should always be kept out of reach from pets. Early Aztecs waterproofed their clothing and made their own shoes from this common plant
and it is still used in the modern process of making rubber today. More interesting information on the Rubber Tree Plant can be found below, including fun facts such
as who wrote and performed the popular song, High Hopes, a song about a Rubber Tree plant and how determination can result in accomplishing seemingly impossible feats.
Rubber Tree General Facts
The Rubber Tree plant is also called the rubber wood tree or rubber fig tree.
The plant produces a milky colored latex sap which can be retrieved from the plant once it matures to an age of about six years old.
The tree can grow to over 100 feet tall (30 meters) in the wild and as an indoor houseplant it usually grows to between 2 (.6 meters) and 10 feet high (3
Rubber Trees do not tend to fair well in close proximity to sidewalks and homes because of their large and powerful roots. The roots have been known to damage
sidewalks and water lines.
Reproduction takes place when the fruit of the tree ripen and burst open, leaving seeds scattered in a 100 foot (30.48 meter) radius from the tree.
The surrounding area nearest to the tree is usually deeply shaded and therefore not many plants are able to grow near it.
The plant does not do well in frost and any sudden changes in the temperature that the plant is exposed to will cause its leaves to drop.
The leaves of the Rubber Tree are glossy, oval shaped and dark green. They can grow to be 14 inches (35 cm) long and up to 6 inches (15.24 cm) wide.
It is a rapidly growing tree, as are most trees in the tropical rainforest, it can sprout 24 inches (60 cm) or more each season, if it is in the proper
environment. It can reach its full size in just 13 years.
The tree grows best in bright sunlight or filtered sun and although it is best suited for the wet and hot climate of the tropical rainforest it can survive in
extremely dry conditions.
Rubber Tree Fun Facts
Frank Sinatra's version of a song about a rubber tree, High Hopes, reached the Billboard top 100 in 1961.
John Kennedy used a different version of Sinatra's song in his 1960 Presidential campaign, which he went on to win.
Different versions of the song have been preformed in years following Sinatra's initial song debut. The song has also appeared in popular television shows such as
Laverne and Shirley, Captain Kangaroo and The Simpsons, as well as well-known movies like Rocky and Antz.