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Useful Tropical Plants

Ficus asperifolia

Miq.

Moraceae

+ Synonyms

Ficus acutifolia Hutch.

Ficus cnestrophylla Warb.

Ficus colpophylla Warb.

Ficus irumuensis De Wild.

Ficus niokoloensis Berhaut

Ficus paludicola Warb.

Ficus pendula Welw. ex Hiern

Ficus scolopophora Warb.

Ficus spirocaulis Mildbr.

Ficus storthophylla Warb.

Ficus urceolaris Welw. ex Hiern

Ficus warburgii H.Winkl.

Ficus xiphophora Warb.

Common Name:

Ficus asperifolia
Drawing of the leaves and fruit (Fig B only)
Photograph by: The London journal of botany [W.J. Hooker], vol. 7: t. 15 (1848) [Q.M.R. VerHuell]
Creative Commons License

General Information

Ficus asperifolia is a variable plant that can be a scrambling shrub, or small tree, growing up to 4 metres high, or a climbing shrub producing stems up to 8 metres long[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
The tree is a much used medicinal plant in Africa where it is harvested from the wild for local use and also sold in local markets[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The leaves are commonly used locally as a sandpaper and occasionally as a food.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Moister regions of Tropical Africa - Senegal to Sudan, south to Angola and the Congo.

Habitat

Damp sites or river-banks; of riverine forest or closed secondary jungle[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitShrub
Height4.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details



Fig trees have a unique form of fertilization, each species relying on a single, highly specialized species of wasp that is itself totaly dependant upon that fig species in order to breed. The trees produce three types of flower; male, a long-styled female and a short-styled female flower, often called the gall flower. All three types of flower are contained within the structure we usually think of as the fruit.
The female fig wasp enters a fig and lays its eggs on the short styled female flowers while pollinating the long styled female flowers. Wingless male fig wasps emerge first, inseminate the emerging females and then bore exit tunnels out of the fig for the winged females. Females emerge, collect pollen from the male flowers and fly off in search of figs whose female flowers are receptive. In order to support a population of its pollinator, individuals of a Ficus spp. must flower asynchronously. A population must exceed a critical minimum size to ensure that at any time of the year at least some plants have overlap of emmission and reception of fig wasps. Without this temporal overlap the short-lived pollinator wasps will go locally extinct[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
]. Consumption only happens occasionally[
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
].

Medicinal

Like the forest sandpaper fig (Ficus exasperata), this species is commonly employed in African traditional medicine, being used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Root decoctions are used in the treatment of urinary tract ailments, gonorrhoea, asthma and tuberculosis. The root is chewed in case of cough. The root is an ingredient in a prescription to expel worms[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The root bark is used against eye problems. The body is rubbed with root scrapings as a tonic[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The wood ash or charcoal is applied on lesions caused by leprosy[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Decoctions of the bark are used in the treatment of coughs, worms, haemorrhoids and abnormal enlargement of the spleen. They are also used as ingredients in the treatment of heart problems. A cold bark extract is drunk in case of dizziness. A maceration of the bark, combined with Senna occidentalis and Setaria megaphylla is taken to facilitate childbirth or to heal gonorrhoea[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Sap from the stem bark is used to stop bleeding, as a treatment of wounds, sores, abscesses, eye ailments, stomach-ache and for the removal of spines, but some traditional healers consider it corrosive to the skin and dangerous to ingest. The ash of burnt stem bark is sprinkled on wounds[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Scrapings from the bark are made into an embrocation with stimulant and tonic properties. The stem bark is locally applied on the body for the treatment of malaria[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The leaves and young stems are abortifacient, analgesic, antidote, diuretic, emetic, oxytocic and stomachic. A decoction is taken for the treatment of dysentery; diseases of the kidneys and urinary tract; respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds, flu and asthma; hypertension. The young leaf is chewed and swallowed in case of gastric ulcers[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The fresh leaf is used as an ingredient of preparations for the treatment of heart diseases[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The leaves are cooked with bananas and eaten as a treatment for gonorrhoea; the cooking water is also drunk for this purpose[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The leaf juice or a decoction of the leaf is applied as an enema for the treatment of stomach-ache, and as an antidote to poison[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The leafy shoot is used in preparations applied externally against jaundice. Leaf pulp or sap is externally applied for the treatment of eye ailments, rash, wounds, leprous sores, fungal infections, itching, oedema, ringworm, rheumatism, and lumbar and intercostal pain. The powder of the dried leaf is sprinkled on burns[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The leaves are used as a mouthwash against thrush, inflammation of the gums and other mouth and throat ailments[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The head is rubbed with warmed leaves for the treatment of headaches; tumours are also rubbed with warmed leaves. In case of severe headache, the patient’s head is washed with a decoction of the leaf[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The abrasive leaf surface is used to scarify the skin to promote penetration of medicines, and to scour the tongue and throat for the treatment of mouth and throat ailments[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The leaf is also used to scratch itching parts of the body and is ingested for mechanical treatment of diarrhoea and intestinal worms[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The fruit is eaten as a treatment of coughs and venereal diseases. The dried and powdered fruit is added to porridge for the treatment of sterility in women[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Water with the seed powder is drunk as a tonic in case of fever[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

The coarse leaves are sometimes used as a sandpaper[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Propagation

Seed -

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