hard rubberlike material made by drying the milky juice produced principally by the bully tree (species Manilkara bidentata) of Guyana and the West Indies. The tree is tapped by cutting zigzag gashes in the bark and collecting the latex in cups, to be coagulated in trays. Like gutta-percha, balata is inelastic, tough, leathery, and water-resistant, and it softens when heated. It is often used as a substitute for the more expensive gutta-percha, chiefly in the manufacture of golf balls and machine belting.
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