Common Name: West African Rubber Tree. Funtumia elastica. Drawing of the leaves and flowers. Photograph by: Matilda Smith Public domain. Funtumia elastica (Preuss) Stapf [family APOCYNACEAE]. Common names. English West African rubber tree; Lagos silk rubber tree; bush rubber (Ghana. Description. Tree to 30 m tall; bole straight and cylindrical, crown narrow; bark brown to dark, thin, slightly fissured, becoming granular on old trees; Slash orange.
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Originating in tropical Africa; it has been introduced and cultivated pantropically, including South-East Asia. Around there were large plantations in Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The bark contains a white latex which coagulates readily and produces about one-third of its weight funtuumia pure rubber.
Before the arrival of Hevea rubber, this was the most promising rubber tree in many tropical regions, primarily in West Africa. The rubber is of good quality compared with para rubber, but its yield is much smaller and plantations suffer much more from insect damage.
At present it is economically of no importance. In Africa some parts of the tree are also used medicinally: The seed has been used to adulterate Strophanthus seed in the production of strophantin. The floss of the fruits is used like kapok, to stuff cushions. The wood is white and soft, not durable, used for carving household utensils like spoons and bowls; funtjmia burns well and is a good firewood.
Tree, up to 30 m tall with not straight, cylindrical, unbuttressed bole; bark pale with grey patches and dark brown twigs, containing white latex. Flowers in elsstica, many-flowered cymes, 5-merous, white to yellowish; peduncle 1 cm long; pedicel mm long; calyx 5 mm long, deeply divided, segments on the inside with 2 glands; corolla salver-shaped, tube mm long, segments oblong, about 5 mm long. Seed fusiform, about 1.
Funtumia elastica – Wikipedia