Rubber dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz) produces natural rubber (cis-1,4,-polyisoprene), almost identical to rubber from the tropical rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), in root latex vessels (laticifers).
Cost-effective field production is not yet possible because of low rubber content, slow growth rates, poor competition with weeds and short season when crops are established by economical direct seeding instead of expensive transplants. Controlled environment vertical hydroponic systems have no weeds or dirt, are not subjected to outdoor productivity limitations and plants can reach a productive size in weeks, not months.
Rubber yields on a dry weight basis are not significantly different between field grown roots and hydroponic roots. Roots can be harvested repeatedly from the same plants. A scalable, modular vertical farming hydroponic system is being developed to match or exceed growth rates attainable in the current research system.