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Funtumia elastica - (Preuss) Stapf

Common Name West African Rubber Tree. Lagos silk rubber
Family Apocynaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Deciduous forest[332 ]. An evanescent species in secondary growth on abandoned cultivated land[332 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Senegal to Sudan, south to Gabon, Congo and Tanzania.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Funtumia elastica West African Rubber Tree. Lagos silk rubber
Funtumia elastica West African Rubber Tree. Lagos silk rubber Ji-Elle


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Funtumia elastica is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 18 m (59ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Kibatalia elastica (Preuss) Merr. Kixia elastica Preuss


Edible Uses

None known


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.

The bark is very astringent, laxative and vermifuge. It is included in prescriptions for troubles associated with blennorrhoea and for painful menstruation. It is pounded up and taken in spirit to cure haemorrhoids[332 ]. The latex is applied to cracked sores of the feet, to cutaneous fungal infections and to sores[332 ]. A number of alkaloids is present in the leaves[332 ]. They are used for treating chest-affections and particularly for whooping-cough[332 ]. The young leaves are taken by mouth or in enemas for the treatment of diarrhoea, or are mixed with kaolin and administered by enema[332 ]. The young leaves, mixed with those of Phyllanthus muellerianus, are taken to improve male fertility[332 ]. An unidentified alkaloid is present in the seed [16]. There has been some commercial interest in the seeds as a substitute for Strophanthus seed as a source of strophanthin (which is used like digitalin to treat heart conditions)[332 ].


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Other Uses

The bark contains a white latex which coagulates readily[332 ]. Very high quality, but low yielding compared to Hevea brasiliensis[332 ]. The seed-pod contains a fine white floss which is used for stuffing pillows and cushions[332 ]. In some regions of Africa it is preferred over the floss obtained from Bombax and Ceiba[332 ]. Spinning trials have indicated a suitability for commercial exploitation[332 ]. The seeds contain about 26% oil with a bitterness in the cake, making it unfit for edible purposes[332 ]. The wood is white and soft, and undifferentiated between sap and heart[332 ]. It is not durable[332 ]. It is used for carving spoons, bowls and other household utensils, and as a timber for beams and rafters in buildings[332 ]. At one time it was commonly used in Ghana for making Asante stools, and still occasionally is[332 ]. It has been found very suitable in match-manufacture for the inner and outer boxes and for match-splints, and is recommended for these purposes[332 ]. It burns well and is said to be superior to Gmelina arborea[332 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming


Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

A tree of the moist tropics. The plant is amenable to cultivation in forest plantations[332 ]. Though the quality of the rubber is comparably good with that of Hevea rubber, this species can in no way compete in yield and therefore economically except in time of dire necessity[332 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • 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.


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Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Damba, Debo, Ire rubber, Ire, Mutondo, Ndamba, Ngonga, Pohon karet sutra, Sekelay, Yamoa

Found In

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

Africa, Asia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central African Republic, CAR, China, Congo, East Africa, Gabon, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Malaysia, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, 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.

None Known

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

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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Expert comment


(Preuss) Stapf

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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