Photo by Melody

Definition of latex

Categorized under "General"

Definition as written by mystic:

The milky sap that comes from a plant when the stem has been cut or broken

Definition as written by Monocromatico:

Examples of lactescent plants are most members of the families Apocynaceae (Allamanda family), Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family), Caricaceae (Papaya family), Sapotaceae (Sapodilla family), Moraceae (Fig and Mulberry family) and Euphorbiaceae (Euphorbia family).

Certain Euphorbiaceae, specially of the genus Hevea, were initially responsible for most of industrial latex, used to produce rubber. Now, most of the industrial latex is artificial, but natural rubber from the latex of Hevea brasiliensis is still used as an alternative to many products, specially clothing.

Latex is a natural deffence against predators, and that´s the reason why the latex of most plants are incredibly poisonous, toxic, or skin irritant. But there are a few exceptions:

The Milk Tree (Couma macrocarpa, family Apocynaceae) has an edible, tasteful, nutritious, sweet latex that can be drank pure or mixed with water or juices. The latex of Amapá (several species under this name) is medicinal, and also can be taken pure in small quantities. The latex from unripen Papaya fruits have enzymes that are used to soften meat. Chiclé, the basis for chewing gums, is obtained from the latex of several species of Manilkara, family Sapotaceae.

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