Rubber tree is native to Brazil, and found only in the Amazon Rainforest. Increasing demand for rubber and the discovery of the vulcanization procedure in 1839 led to a boom in that region, enriching the cities of Manaus and Belém. An attempt was made in 1873, to grow rubber outside Brazil. Seeds were exported from the lower Amazon area of Brazil to London UK by Henry Wickham, a local planter acting for the British Government. After some effort, twelve seedlings were germinated at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in England. Once established outside its native country, rubber was extensively propagated in the British colonies.
The rubber tree was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1875. The first rubber tree was planted in Henarathgoda Botanic Garden of Gampaha district in 1876, but the tree was uprooted by a cyclone in 1988. Efforts to cultivate the tree in its native South America were unsuccessful. Today most rubber plantations are found in Southeast Asia particularly in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.