The juice of the percha-tree (Isonandra percha) of the family called Sapotacæ. The percha trees grow to a great height, and abound in all the Malacca Islands. The juice is obtained by cutting the bark.
Gutta-percha was brought over by Dr. William Montgomerie in 1843, but articles made of this resin were known in Europe some time before. (Latin, gutta, a drop.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894