Condoms, car tires and balloons have one thing in common. Elastic rubber.
The material comes mainly from the latex on rubber trees and is currently shipped globally without much concern for the environment or the Southeast Asian plantations where it grows.
For some time dandelions have been considered a renewable alternative, above all a Russian variety, which despite its high concentration of rubber is weak against weeds (making pesticide use inevitable).
Researchers in northern Germany are now aiming to combine the best features of different types of dandelion, fusing high rubber concentration with resilience.
Farmers have shown great interest in cultivating the plant, cementing the status of sustainable, organic rubber as a regional product.