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Castilla elastica - Sesse.

Common Name Panama Rubber Tree. Mastate blanco
Family Moraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Openings in moist lowland forest[307 ].
Range Northern S. America, north to southern Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Castilla elastica Panama Rubber Tree. Mastate blanco

Castilla elastica Panama Rubber Tree. Mastate blanco


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Castilla elastica is a deciduous Tree growing to 40 m (131ft) by 35 m (114ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects, birds.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Castilla costaricana Liebm. Castilla guatemalensis Pittier Castilla lactiflua O.F.Cook Castilla nicoyensis O.F.Cook Castilla panamensis O.F.Cook

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

The succulent fruit has a sweetish flavour[307 ]. The ellipsoid reddish fruit is about 4cm in diameter[200 , 307 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Design: Specimen tree. Botanic collection. Public open space. Agroforestry Uses: Members of this genus have a root system that consists of a rather short tap root and of several lateral roots spreading horizontally and so near the surface of the soil that they can often be followed for 20 to 30 metres[684 ]. This root system makes it difficult to grow other crops under the tree[K ]. Other Uses A good quality latex can be tapped from the trunk[46 , 307 ]. Produced copiously, trees 8 - 10 years old can yield up to 25kg of latex a year[307 ]. Once harvested, the rubbery latex dries to become tough and resilient[307 ]. The latex can be used commercially, and is also much used by local people who made items such as bouncing balls, waterproofing fabrics, artefacts etc[307 ]. The latex is often tinted with natural dyes and used to make local handcrafts[307 ]. The pale grey bark is fibrous. It strips off the trunk easily and is used to make cord[307 ]. The bark is beaten to make into mats, blankets and clothing[46 , 307 , 447 , 454 ]. The wood is yellow brown, moderately soft, light in weight, and not durable. It is used chiefly for fuel[447 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 23 - 30c, but can tolerate 15 - 34c[418 ]. It can be killed by temperatures of 10c or lower[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,300 - 2,700mm, but tolerates 2,000 - 3,000mm[418 ]. Grows best in a rich, well-drained soil in a sunny position[307 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6, tolerating 4.5 - 7[418 ]. Tapping of the trees for their latex can commence 7 years after planting[418 ]. Plants have become invasive in some areas[307 ]. A fast growing tree[447 ]. Individual plants can either produce only male flowers (dioecious) or they can produce both male and female flowers (monoecious)[315 , 684 ]. Trees at 8-10 years old can yield 25kg (55lb) of latex (poor quality).

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Plants providing crop shade especially trees.
  • 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.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe because it has a short viability[307 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Taspul, Caucho, Ule

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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
Castilla uleiCaucho NegroTree30.0 10-12 MLMHNM203
Rubus glaucusMora De Castilla, Andes berryShrub3.0 10-12  LMHSNM402

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.


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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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