Only in Arizona: Farm in Eloy shows promise for domestic cultivation of plant that produces natural latex Our first introduction to rubber trees likely came from vintage Looney Tunes or Disney cartoons. Some of the plot lines were set in the rainforests of Burma or Brazil, and the whimsical animated rubber trees would do something silly, like bounce the antagonist out of the story and over the horizon. But, all we knew was that rubber trees weren’t from around here, and if we needed entertainment beyond Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, rubber bands were pretty cool, too. And it’s true that rubber trees, or hevea brasiliensis, grow primarily in the rain forests of South America and the Far East; its milky latex is extracted like maple syrup into buckets to make tires and car parts, soles of shoes, medical products and lots of other everyday items, including rubber bands. So when I heard that we were growing plants in Arizona to make rubber, I didn’t believe it. How can Popeye and Porky Pig be wrong? Our own rubber shrub Well, the answer is guayule — a woody shrub that thrives in the desert Southwest and Northern Mexico. “Many plant species… Read full this story
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