Rubber tree being tapped

Rubber tree being tapped

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Credit: JOHN MEAD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tapping a rubber tree. Natural rubber is produced by many New World plants, the most important of which is the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. Raw rubber is obtained from a milky latex exuded by the tree in response to injury; exactly why the latex is produced is not known. Tapping involves scoring a spiral cut through the bark. The latex flows slowly out and drains into a collecting cup. A single tree can yield up to 30g from a cut before the flow stops. Native to Brazil, the rubber tree was introduced in the early 20th century to Malaysia, which is now the world's largest producer of rubber. Photographed in Malaysia.

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Keywords: agriculture, farming, land use, latex, rubber tree, rubber tree tapping, tapping, traditional

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