Ficus

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Ficus

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What do Ficus look like?

As a group figs are relatively easy to recognise. Many have aerial roots and a distinctive shape or habit, and their fruits distinguish them from other plants. The fig fruit is an enclosed inflorescence, sometimes referred to as asyconium, an urn-like structure lined on the inside with the fig’s tiny flowers. The unique fig pollination system, involving tiny, highly specific wasps which pollinate and lay their eggs, has been a constant source of inspiration and wonder to biologists. Finally, there are three vegetative traits that together are unique to figs. All figs possess a white to yellowish latex, some in copious quantities; the twig has paired stipulesor a circular stipule scar if the stipules have fallen off; and the lateral veins at the base of the leaf are steep, forming a tighter angle with the midrib than the other lateral veins, a feature referred to as “tri-veined”.

Where are Ficus found?

Fig trees are native to in certain parts of Australia and Lord Howe Island. 

Fast facts:

  1. Ficusis a genus of about 850 species of woodytrees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes and hemiepiphytes.
  2. Figs are keystone species in many rainforest ecosystems. Their fruit are a key resource for some frugivores including flying foxes. Ficus is by far the largest genus in the Moraceae, and is one of the largest genera of flowering plants currently described.

Ficus (Fig)

Ficusis a genus of about 850 species of woodytrees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes and hemiepiphytes. The fruit of most species are edible though they are usually of only local economic importance or eaten as bushfood. They are extremely important food resources for wildlife and of considerable cultural importance throughout the tropics, both as objects of worship and for their many practical uses.

As a group figs are relatively easy to recognise. Many have aerial roots and a distinctive shape or habit, and their fruits distinguish them from other plants. The fig fruit is an enclosed inflorescence, sometimes referred to as asyconium, an urn-like structure lined on the inside with the fig’s tiny flowers. The unique fig pollination system, involving tiny, highly specific wasps which pollinate and lay their eggs, has been a constant source of inspiration and wonder to biologists. Finally, there are three vegetative traits that together are unique to figs. All figs possess a white to yellowish latex, some in copious quantities; the twig has paired stipulesor a circular stipule scar if the stipules have fallen off; and the lateral veins at the base of the leaf are steep, forming a tighter angle with the midrib than the other lateral veins, a feature referred to as “tri-veined”.

Figs are keystone species in many rainforest ecosystems. Their fruit are a key resource for some frugivores including flying foxes. Ficus is by far the largest genus in the Moraceae, and is one of the largest genera of flowering plants currently described.

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