8. Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem., Hort. Bot. Hafn. Suppl. 7. 1819. Roxb., Fl. Ind. 3:541. 1832; King in Hook. f., l.c. 508. 1888; Parker, l.c. 481; Bailey, Man. Cult. Pl. 340. 1949; Corner in Gard. Bull. Singapore 21(1): 24. 1965; in Dass. & Fosb. l.c. 261. fig. 18.1981.
Vern.: Indian Rubber Tree.
A large evergreen, glabrous, upto 30 m tall tree, with a dense crown and spreading branches without prop roots. Trunk massive, 1,5-1.5 m in circumference with copious much butteresed and fluted aerial roots spreading on the ground, bark grayish or reddish brown, young twigs finely puberulous. Leaves with 2.5-6 (-8) cm long petiole; lamina thick, glossy above, oblong or elliptic, (10-) 15-25 (-30) cm long, (4-) 5-15 (-22) cm wide, base cuneate, margins entire, apex obtuse with c. 8-10 mm long acumen; lateral nerves almost parallel, 20-30 (-40) pairs, hardly raised beneath, intercostals absent; cystoliths abundant above, few below; stipules very large, 8-25 cm long often rosy to pinkish-brown. Hypanthodia sessile, in extra axillary pairs below the leaves, pale-greenish, subtended by 3 caducous basal bracts, without internal bristles, apical orifice closed by 3-4 apical bracts. Male flowers: pedicellate, dispersed in the interior of receptacle; sepals (3-) 4, ovate, patent. Female flowers: sessile; sepals 4, free, ovary smooth with subterminal style. Figs ovoid-oblong, 10-12 mm long, 6-8 mm across, pale to yellowish brown.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: March-April.
Type: Hab in Ind. Orient., Roxburgh Icon. ined. 2141 (L).
Distribution: India, Nepal, Burma, Malayan Archipelago, Java; introduced and widely cultivated as an ornamental in many countries.
Much grown indoors in its juvenile state as decorative house plant. The most common indoor varieties known in our area are: a) var. decora which has glossy dark green leaves red beneath and ivory midrib. b) var. variegate has light green leaves with white or yellow margins. C) var. doescheri has leaves with creamy-yellow midrib, pink petioles and green margins. Formerly important and cultivated in India as a source of natural rubber.