India- Rubber Tree. Peradeniya Gardens, near Kandy, Ceylon.
You are within the wonderful 150-acre enclosure of the Royal Botnaic Gardens, four miles from Kanyd, the old Ceylonese capital. The gardens are passed on the way up from the port of Columbo, seventy miles away on the west coast.
These gigantic trees form a stately avenue near the main entrance to the park. In some parts of India rubber trees reach almost incredible dimensions - trunks 100 feet high and 75 feet in circumference, with a roof of foliage covering an area of 1600 square feet; these tree you see now are not quite so huge, for they belong to a different species, but they are big enough and queer enough to be a conspicuous feature even in this garden of tropical wonders. Notice the extraordinary shapes into which the roots have squirmed and writhed, as they reached out over the surface or the ground.
It is a near relative to these tree from whose milky juice "caoutchouc," our more familiar rubber, is procured. The Chinese have for a good many centuries known how to treat the juice to get a peculiar elastic gum for various uses, but the possibilities of the stuff were first suggested in Europe by a French traveler in South America in 1735. The enormous development of rubber manufactures in the nineteenth century led India as well as other tropical countries to contribute raw materials; large quantities are exported annually from Singapore.
These are native Singhalese whom you see sitting on the serpent-like coils of the tree roots. The costume, which includes a sort of scanty petticoat, is such as the average Columbo citizen is accustomed to wear.
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