The tropical collection also houses various plants of significant historial and cultural value. The rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is originally native to the Amazon rainforest but has been naturalized in South-Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. Unfortunately, the rubber tree is tied to the colonial history of these regions. In Indochina, for example, hundreds of thousands of farmers were recruited by the French colonial government to rubber plantations, where they suffered from harsh working conditions and severe abuse.
We have several species of the soursop family (Annonaceae), including the Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) and the pawpaw (Asimina triloba). Many Annonaceae plants (e.g. the pawpaw) are known for their flavorful fruits, while the Ylang-ylang flowers are commonly used for essential oil extractions and perfumes.