A fast growing tree that can reach a height of 25 m, the Pará Rubber originates from Tropical South America. The name of the genus, Hevea, is a Latinised form of the tree’s Guyanan name, heve. The specific name brasiliensis refers to its Brazilian origins.
The Pará Rubber has greyish and smooth bark. Its leaves are alternately arranged and compound with three leaflets. The fruit is a hard pod with three compartments that explode loudly when ripe and dry, dispersing the seeds more than 20 m from the parent tree.
The Pará Rubber is the source of natural rubber, produced from latex obtained from tapping the trunk of the tree. The latex is derived from the inner bark and flows within the vessels of the tree. It is thought that the latex provides defence against insect predators.
In 1877, 11 Pará Rubber seedlings shipped from Kew Gardens were successfully planted in the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Henry James Murton, who was the director of the Gardens from 1875 until 1880. It is believed that these plants were the source of the rubber trees that started the rubber industry in the region.
This Pará Rubber Heritage Tree is likely a remnant of an old rubber plantation. It was estimated to be more than 50 years of age when it was endorsed as a Heritage Tree in 2018.