Nov. 11, 2019
Leavenworth's goldenrod, Solidago leavenworthii
After World War I, there was concern about rubber supplies if the supply of raw rubber were to be interrupted. Thomas Edison and staff at Edison Labs began research on alternate sources. After about 17,000 plants were tried, Leavenworth's goldenrod was the winner. Plants twelve feet tall with 12 % latex were developed. Eventually, and particularly after Edison's death in 1931, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and George Washington Carver became involved. Prototype tires were made. But by 1940, synthetic rubber was available and more practical. So no cultivated fields of rubber goldenrod. Leavenworth's goldenrod grows in AL, FL, GA, NC, and SC. Taylor Co FL, 10/20/15.