Ficus elastica

Rubber tree (Ficus elastica ), the natural habitat with aerial roots.

The rubber tree (Ficus elastica ) is a plant of the genus figs ( Ficus ), which also includes the edible figs, in the family of the mulberry family ( Moraceae ). It is classified in the group of banyan figs, which include the significant in Buddhism poplar fig ( banyan tree ) belongs. However, it is not closely related with the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis ), from which comes the most natural rubber to produce rubber.

His original home has Ficus elastica in an area of ​​Northeast India ( Assam ) to Indonesia (Sumatra and Java). Today, however, it is a common houseplant and an ornamental tree in the tropics in parks, gardens and a street tree.


In Ficus elastica is an evergreen tree that can reach a stature height of 20 to 40 meters (rarely to 60 m ) and a trunk diameter of up to 2 meters. The bark is light brown to medium brown and smooth. The trunk is irregular and developed aerial roots and buttress roots to be firmly anchored in the soil and to support the heavy branches. Young plants can be found growing as epiphytes.

In case of breach enter the vegetative plant parts from abundant white milky sap (latex). Since it can be a trigger of allergic reactions to anaphylactic reactions to latex allergy, they should avoid him.

The change-constant leaves are stalked and easy. The petiole is 2-5 cm long. The full leaves, leathery leaf blade is 8-35 cm long and 5-15 cm wide. The upper leaf surface is glossy dark green and the lower leaf surface is bright green. The leaf size in young plants that have to make do with the little light in the undergrowth in nature, greatest ( occasionally up to 45 cm) and much smaller in older trees. The stipules are fused to a large side sheet prior to deployment protects the young leaves as a bag. It is usually dark, approximately 10 cm long and is repelled during unfolding of the sheet. The leaves contain Cystoliths.

Ficus elastica are monoecious getrenntgeschlechtig ( monoecious ). As with other Ficus species, the flowers need a special type symbiotic ( obligate mutualism ) living fig wasps for pollination. Therefore, the rubber tree needs no colored or scented flowers to attract pollinators. The flowers are located inside an inflorescence. These inflorescences are formed in pairs on axillary leafless, small twigs. You are almost sessile and about 10 × 5-8 mm. Male and female, of which there are fertile and sterile bile flowers, flowers are in an inflorescence. The stalked, male flowers have four sepals and are just a dust -free thread- stamen. The sessile, female flowers have a long pen of the ends in an enlarged, more or less capitate stigma. The sterile bile flowers have four sepals and a short, curved stylus.

The fruit is a small, yellow-green, oval pear with about 1 cm in length that is barely edible. Fertile seeds are included only if the flower was pollinated by the wasp.

Culture and use

Ficus elastica is used worldwide as an ornamental plant in warm climates outdoors in cooler climates as a houseplant. There are different varieties, including those with bright variegated leaves, that is, white - green leaves.

The rubber tree prefers bright sunlight, but also comes with little light. It is tolerant to drought, but preferably damp soil moisture conditions. It grows particularly well in humid, tropical environment.

This species and its varieties are vegetatively propagated by cuttings or seldom Abmoosen. Sowing is possible. Also, a tissue culture can be used to rapid, large growth rate.

The emergent injuries, white rubber sap ( " latex") can be used for rubber production. For commercial latex extraction, however, the rubber tree is used.


  • Zhengyi Wu, Zhe - Kun Zhou, Michael G. Gilbert: Ficus elastica. In: Wu Zhengyi, Peter H. Raven, Deyuan Hong (eds.): Flora of China. Volume 5: Ulmaceae through Basellaceae, Science Press / Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing / St. Louis 2003, ISBN 1-930723-27- X, pp. 42, online.
  • Hans Jessen, Helmut Schulze: Botany in Question and Answer: Over 1300 Questions and Answers. 15th edition, Schaper, Alefeld -Hannover 2001, ISBN 3-7944-0195-6, limited preview on Google Book Search.