The Russian dandelion helped supply the Allied forces with rubber through the Second World War. Now, tire makers are hoping it could make a commercial comeback. In 1931, Soviet scientists were on the hunt for a natural source of rubber that would help the USSR become self-sufficient in key materials. They scoured the vast and various territories of the Soviet Union and tested over 1,000 different species looking for an alternative to the South American rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensi. Eventually, on the steppes of Kazakhstan, they found one. By 1941, the Russian dandelion, Taraxacum koksaghyz, supplied 30% of the USSR’s rubber. During the Second World War, shortages of Havea rubber prompted other countries, including the United States, Britain and Germany, to begin cultivating dandelion rubber.