Ficus elastica, also called the rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush is a species of plant in the fig genus, native to northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, China (Yunnan), Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is a large tree in the banyan group of figs, growing to 30–40 metres (98–131 ft) (rarely up to 60 metres or 200 feet) tall, with a stout trunk up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) in diameter. The trunk develops aerial and buttressing roots to anchor it in the soil and help support heavy branches. It has broad shiny oval leaves 10–35 centimetres (3.9–13.8 in) long and 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) broad; leaf size is largest on young plants (occasionally to 45 centimetres or 18 inches long), much smaller on old trees (typically 10 centimetres or 3.9 inches long). The leaves develop inside a sheath at the apical meristem, which grows larger as the new leaf develops. When it is mature, it unfurls and the sheath drops off the plant. Inside the new leaf, another immature leaf is waiting to develop. Ficus elastica is grown around the world as an ornamental plant, outside in frost-free climates from the tropical to the Mediterranean and inside in colder climates as a houseplant. Although it is grown in Hawaii, the species of fig wasp required to allow it to spread naturally is not present there.
In cultivation, it prefers bright sunlight but not hot temperatures. It has a high tolerance for drought, but prefers humidity and thrives in wet, tropical conditions. Ornamental hybrids (such as Robusta) have been derived from Ficus elastica with broader, stiffer and more upright leaves than the wild form. Many such hybrids exist, often with variegated leaves.
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