24 July 2010

Latex In Your Lettuce

Guayule (USDA)
Natural rubber comes from latex produced by plants. The para rubber tree is the current source of natural rubber because of the rate at which it produces latex, but rubber fig trees, lettuce, dandelions, and guayule, a shrub native to Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico, all produce latex that can be made into rubber. Latex is what gives the thicker parts of the lettuce their bitter taste, and when you break a dandelion stem, the white fluid that oozes out is latex. That was a considerable part of my childhood right there.


  1. I think you just blew my mind. Especially cause I always wondered what the white goo inside of dandelions was - I assumed it was glue holding the stem together, in my vast and wondrous 8-year-old intellect.

  2. I always wondered what it was too. Good to know I wasn't the only one. I wonder if every kid pulled the tops off dandelions to see the white goo.