When I was a girl, I got a book from the library on how to make dolls house furniture. It was from the 70’s, in glorious shades or orange and mustard and chocolate brown, and the items you could make included a miniature shag-pile rug, and tiny rubber tree houseplant. I love that a rubber tree was obviously the archetypal 70’s houseplant. Even in my family home we had a Ficus Elastica, grown under the eves by the front door. I have always liked them, with their almost cartoon like large dark green glossy leaves and minimalist structure, at least, kept in tiny pots in temperate zones they grow that way. So it was amazing to see ficus elastica unleashed, so to speak, in its fully formed tropical might. Apart from the distinctive leaves, you’d never believe it was the same plant. Though it was used to make latex rubber once, it is not the same tree as the commercial rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis from Brazil. Ficus Elastica is native to India, so we may see some more good ones when we go there next month. I took a photo of this one in the grounds of the Entebbe Botanic Gardens, where there is also an avenue of large Hevea brasilinensis. You can see the tree to the right of the road, and then the next shot is the trunk of the same tree with a monkey in the middle of it!
The other lovely ficus elastica we saw was growing in the Entebbe Wildlife Park, and a group of stunning great blue Turaco were frolicking in its branches. And then, a random camel wandered past the tree, followed by its baby.