Natural rubber is a strategic resource, given its use in hundreds of medical, military, transportation and other products and narrow supply base. Synthetic rubber lacks key properties. And, supplies from plantations of the current source of natural rubber, Hevea brasiliensis, are increasingly unsteady. Since 2005, the VPSL has been pleased to partner in efforts to develop Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS) as a domestic source of natural rubber, as outlined at http://www.oardc.osu.edu/penra/index.html.
TKS can be grown from seed and root cuttings. And, it is winter-tolerant when grown outdoors or in semi-protected settings. Moreover, to facilitate development efforts, the TKS plant inventory must always be as large as possible. With these facts in mind, the VPSL recently established plantings using many seed, seedlings and cuttings in high and medium-high tunnels at the OARDC in processes depicted here.
These new plantings complement others in field and greenhouse settings at OARDC and elsewhere.