Ficus arboricida Schult.
Ficus dendroctonia Spreng.
Ficus elliptica Kunth
Ficus dendrocida is a semideciduous tree with a low, dense, wide crown; it can grow 8 - 30 metres tall. The bole can be 40 - 60cm in diameter. The plant often produces many aerial roots[
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use of its wood.
The Brazilian subpopulation is confined and declining. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
S. America - northern Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela; C. America - Panama.
Amazon rainforest and savannah woodland, in soils subject to seasonal inundation, favouring moist, fertile conditions[
]. Margins of tidal swamps in Panama[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
Prefers a position in full sun[
]. Prefers a well-drained soil, favouring fertile, humus-rich, moist soils in the wild[
The tree often commences life as an epiphyte, growing in the branches of another tree[
]. Eventually it sends down shoots that produce roots when they reach soil level. The shoots thicken and become trunks, providing the tree with extra nutrition that enable it to eventually out-compete and smother the host tree[
The tree is important for the native fauna, providing food and also, with its dense crown, providing shelter[
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[
A latex obtained from the plant is quite acid. It is used to coagulate the latex obtained from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), making a thick blanket of rubber which is called 'raw smoked sheet' which can be stored until it is sold[
A fibre obtained from the bark is used for making garments[
The wood is thick-textured, straight-grained, moderately heavy, soft to cut, with poor mechanical properties and not very durable. It is only used for purposes such as boxes and the fillings of doors and panels[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed. The seed is very small, so it should be sown on the surface and gently watered into the soil, being careful not to wash it away. A low germination rate can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 21 - 35 days[
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