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Hevea brasiliensis - (A.Juss.) Meull.

Common Name Para Rubber Tree, Brazilian Rubber Tree
Family Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness 11-12
Known Hazards The seeds contain cyanic compounds are poisonous to humans unless treated[587 ]. See notes on edible uses below[K ]. (Seed is poisonous if ingested Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction )
Habitats Along river banks in rainforests[307 ]. Rainforest, often in periodically flooded areas, but larger trees are found on the well-drained plateaux. In its natural habitat, it forms part of the middle storey of the tropical forest[303 ].
Range S. America - Brazil around the Amazon and Orinoco rivers.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (5 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Hevea brasiliensis Para Rubber Tree, Brazilian Rubber Tree

Hevea brasiliensis Para Rubber Tree, Brazilian Rubber Tree
Vinayaraj wikimedia


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Known as the most important rubber-producing tree worldwide, Hevea brasiliensis or commonly known as para rubber tree, is a deciduous tree growing up to 20 m in height with smooth and gray bark, dark green leaves, pale yellow flowers, and large capsule fruits. It is a tropical plant native to the Amazon in Brazil but can be found in other locations across South America, Africa, and Asia. Seeds are poisonous thus it requires treatment by soaking for a prolonged period or boiling prior to consumption. The seeds contain Para rubber seed oil, a semi-drying pale yellow oil used for illumination, soap making, paint, varnish, and as a treatment against house flies and lice. The plant is often intercropped with coffee or cocoa. Tapping the trunk yields latex used in wide range of applications. The wood is used for furniture, interior finish, moulding, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Hevea brasiliensis is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 16 m (52ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Wind, Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses:

Seed - cooked[307 ]. Although poisonous, the seeds are a staple food of local peoples in the jungle[307 ]. The seed needs to be treated by soaking for a prolonged period or boiling them to destroy the cyanic poisons[303 , 307 ]. The seeds contain 40 - 50% oil. This is suitable for use as food[303 ]. A famine food.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Fertilizer  Fuel  Insecticide  Latex  Lighting  Paint  Repellent  Soap  Varnish  Wood

Humid shade garden. Specimen. Botanic collection. Agroforestry Uses: Intercropping with coffee or cocoa, perhaps in conjunction with ipecac, is possible. After a few years under legumes, no nitrogen fertilizer may be needed, but phosphorus, magnesium and potassium may be limiting in some areas[303 ]. Other Uses: Press cake or extracted meal can be used as fertilizer[303 ]. A latex is obtained by tapping the trunk[307 ]. The latex coagulates with the aid of acetic acid, formic acid and alum[303 ]. This is the major source of natural rubber, used in a wide variety of applications including car tyres, shoes and boots, balls, elastic bands, erasers etc[307 ]. It is also much used by local people to make domestic items such as water bottles, balls etc[307 ]. The seeds contain a semi-drying pale yellow oil, known as Para rubber seed oil[46 , 303 ]. Boiling the seed removes the poison and releases the oil, which can be used for illumination, soap making, paints and varnishes[46 , 303 ]. The oil can be used as an effective treatment against houseflies and lice[303 ]. The heartwood is pale cream in colour, often with a pink tinge when fresh, darkening on exposure to pale straw-coloured or pale brown, not clearly demarcated from the sapwood. The grain is straight to shallowly interlocked, texture moderately coarse but even. Sawn rubberwood often shows black stripes with the inclusion of bark material, the result of poor tapping practices with damaged or removed cambium; in freshly sawn wood there is a characteristic and distinct smell of latex. Most of the timber is used to manufacture furniture. Other uses include interior finish, moulding, e.g. For wall panelling, picture frames, drawer guides, cabinet and other handles, parquet flooring, many household utensils, block board cores, pallets, crates, coffins, veneer, and glue-laminated timber, e.g. For staircases and door and window components[303 ]. Since the timber is only moderately durable when exposed to the elements, it should not be used for exterior purposes[303 ]. Offcuts and other rubberwood residues have been used successfully in Malaysia for the production of particle board, wood-cement board, and medium-density fibreboard[303 ]. Rubberwood was formerly regarded as a by product of the rubber plantations and used for the production of charcoal or as fuel wood, for brick making, tobacco drying and rubber drying[303 ]. Rubberwood waste is an excellent medium for the growing of mushrooms, especially oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.)[303 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Global Crop  Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Industrial Crop: Oil  Management: Standard  Other Systems: Multistrata  Other Systems: Strip intercrop

Succeeds in humid lowland tropical areas, growing best at elevations of 300 - 500 metres, but also succeeding at elevations up to 900 metres[303 ]. Planting above 400 - 500 metres is not generally recommended because trees at higher altitudes tend to be smaller, with less vigorous growth, and with reduced production of both latex and timber[303 ]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 23 - 35°c, and a mean annual rainfall of 1,500 - 3,000mm, though it can tolerate up to 4,000mm[303 ]. In some areas, rubber can tolerate a 2 - 3 month period of drought[303 ]. Prefers a fertile, moisture-retentive soil in light shade[307 ]. Plants tolerate some waterlogging[303 ]. Tolerant of a wide pH range from 4 - 8, though it does better in acid soils[303 ]. Lime is harmful, and shallow or poorly drained or peaty soils should be avoided. Thrives best in deep, well-drained loamy soil covered by natural undergrowth or a leguminous cover crop and protected from erosion[303 ]. Requires protection from strong winds[418 ]. Plants can be tapped for their latex from about the age of 7 years[307 ]. The root system has a well-developed taproot with far-spreading lateral roots[303 ]. In high-rainfall areas, good internal drainage of the soil is important. Strong winds may snap trunks and branches; however, more wind-resistant clones do exist[303 ]. Only a few clones are self-incompatible, but most benefit from cross-pollination or from hand pollination[303 ]. The economic life cycle of a rubber plantation is 30 - 35 years, after which replanting is necessary[303 ]. Flowering Time: Mid Summer. Bloom Color: Green. Spacing: 20-30 ft. (6-9 m).

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Plants providing crop shade especially trees.
  • Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world. The annual value of each is more than $1 billion US Examples include coconuts, almonds, and bananas.
  • Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, rubber, biomass products gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, butane, propane, biogas. Plants are usually resprouting plants and saps.
  • Industrial Crop: Oil  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, biomass, glycerin, soaps, lubricants, paints, biodiesel. Oilseed crop types.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Other Systems: Multistrata  Multistrata agroforests feature multiple layers of trees often with herbaceous perennials, annual crops, and livestock.
  • Other Systems: Strip intercrop  Tree crops grown in rows with alternating annual crops.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - it only has a short viability of 7 - 10 days and so should be sown as soon as possible[200 , 303 ]. The seed is often sown in situ - usually 2 or more seeds per hole are planted, and then the seedlings are selectively thinned[303 ]. The seeds can also be planted in a nursery bed. Seeds germinate in 1 - 3 weeks, depending on climatic conditions and freshness[303 ]. It germinates best at a temperature of about 25?c[300 ]. Seedlings grow to a height of 1 - 1.5 metres in 6 months[303 ]. Seed storage behaviour is recalcitrant; viability can be maintained for 3 months in moist storage with moist charcoal and sawdust in a perforated polythene bag at 7 - 10°c. Whole seed moisture content is 36%; lowest safe moisture content is 20%, and no seeds survive further desiccation to 15% mc[303 ]. Seeds are killed on exposure to -5°c for 3 - 4 hours. Commercial clonal seed are stored in cold storage at about 4°c, which often gives reduced but tolerable germination[303 ]. Vegetative propagation is by budding or cuttings. Seedlings make good cuttings, but cuttings from older, rubber-bearing trees take very poorly or not at all[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Para Rubber Tree, Brazilian Rubber Tree, Seringa, borracha, borracha do pará, cautchu, goma elática, natural rubber (latex solids).

French Guiana; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Bolivia, Plurinational State of; Colombia; Peru; Brazil, Africa, Andamans, Asia, Central Africa, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, East Timor, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guiana, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malaysia, Nigeria, SE Asia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Thailand, Timor-Leste, West Africa,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Hevea benthamianaHeveaTree20.0 10-12 FLMHSNM304

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(A.Juss.) Meull.

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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