Link to enlarge vase K7784 &#copy; Justin Kerr Charles Zidar

Family:  Euphorbiaceae
Genus:  Hevea
Species:  brasiliensis
Authority:  (Willd. ex A.Juss.) Mull. Arg.
Common Name:  rubber tree
Maya Plant Use:  Rubber Tree - Latex or laticifers, termed "rubber" by Sir Joseph Priestley in 1770 when he used it to rub errors from a piece of paper. Aztecs used Castilla elastica. Later Havea brasiliensis was used. In 1823, Charles Macintosh used rubber as a waterproof jacket. In 1839, Charles Goodyear developed vulcanization. Synthetic rubber is made by polymerizing either butadiene or styrene molecules obtained from alcohol, coal, or petroleum. Over two-thirds of rubber goes toward making tires. (Simpson and Ogorzaly 1995)
Ritual Significance:  Hevea brasiliensis? and Castilla elastica were prized by the ancient Maya for the liquid latex that was harvested to create the ceremonial ball for the ritual ballgame. A rubber ball can be seen on this polychrome ceramic.
Notes:  S. America only?
Photos:  Click on an image below for high resolution comparison.

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