In the wild, the rubber tree will grow to heights of 100 to 130 feet, and can live up to 100 years. Its most famous feature is the milky white sap, known as latex, which flows freely from the tree when a sliver of bark is removed.
The rubber tree is native to the tropical rainforest of the Amazon basin and the Guianas. It is widespread in the northern part of South America (Bolivia, Colombia, Peru) and was introduced into South-East Asia and to Africa.
Although poisonous, seeds can be eaten as a famine food after processing. Boiling removes the poison and releases the oil which can be utilised for illumination.