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Useful Tropical Plants

Ficus insipida

Willd.

Moraceae

+ Synonyms

Ficus anthelmintica Mart.

Ficus finlayana Warb.

Ficus glabrata Kunth

Ficus krugiana Warb.

Ficus longistipula Pittier

Ficus palmirana Dugand

Ficus radulina S.Watson

Ficus segoviae Miq.

Ficus werckleana Rossberg

Ficus whitei Rusby

Galoglychia martinicensis Gasp.

Pharmacosycea angustifolia Liebm.

Pharmacosycea brittonii Rusby

Common Name:

Ficus insipida
Looking up the trunk into the canopy
Photograph by: R. Aquilar
Creative Commons License
Ficus insipida Ficus insipida Ficus insipida Ficus insipida Ficus insipida Ficus insipida Ficus insipida Ficus insipida Ficus insipida

General Information

Ficus insipida is usually a medium to large-sized, evergreen tree with an open, spreading crown; it can grow from 12 - 40 metres tall[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. The bole is moderately straight, cylindrical, slightly compressed; it sometimes branches from low down but can also sometimes be unbranched for most of the tree's height; it can be 45 - 70cm in diameter[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. The tree often has large surface roots[
453
Title
Woods of Northeastern Peru
Publication
 
Author
Williams L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Field Museum Press; Chicago.
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
Gives information on the properties of the wood of well over 1,000 species of woody plants from northeastern Peru. Can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plants greatest value for people is probably its latex, which is used as an anthelmintic and has sometimes been exported[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. The plant is sometimes grown in home gardens as a supply of this latex[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. Its edible fruit is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use, whilst it is also used for craftwork[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.

Range

S. America - Peru and Brazil, north through Ecuador and Central America to Mexico.

Habitat

Forest or open fields or hillsides, often along roadsides, frequently near habitations, usually at low elevations, but ranging from sea level to elevations of about 1,400 metres[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. Found in wet evergreen and seasonally dry deciduous forest[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height20.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsWasps
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a sunny position[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
A fairly fast-growing plant[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
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

Fruit - Very soft and juicy when ripe[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. Of mediocre flavour, it is more commonly eaten by birds and other mammals than by humans[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. A good size, it ranges from 15 - 40mm or even more in diameter[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The latex that flows from the trunk and branches is used commercially in meat tenderizers, edible collagen films, chillproofing beer and as a curdling agent for making cheese[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The latex that flows from the trunk and branches is an effective anthelmintic, though it can be drastic, even corrosive[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
558
Title
Botanical Museum Leaflets Vol 30
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University, Boston.
Year
1984 - 1986
ISBN
 
Description
A series of botanical articles. It contains an article on the medicinal and toxic plants of the northwest Amazon. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
]. It is recommended in the treatment of ancylostomiasis and jaundice[
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
]. It is also said to be aphrodisiac, a remedy for anaemia and to aid the memory[
453
Title
Woods of Northeastern Peru
Publication
 
Author
Williams L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Field Museum Press; Chicago.
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
Gives information on the properties of the wood of well over 1,000 species of woody plants from northeastern Peru. Can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
].

The leaves contain psoralen and several triterpenes[
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
].

Other Uses

A copious white, bitter-tasting latex flows from the trunk and branches when they are cut[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
453
Title
Woods of Northeastern Peru
Publication
 
Author
Williams L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Field Museum Press; Chicago.
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
Gives information on the properties of the wood of well over 1,000 species of woody plants from northeastern Peru. Can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It has medicinal uses[
453
Title
Woods of Northeastern Peru
Publication
 
Author
Williams L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Field Museum Press; Chicago.
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
Gives information on the properties of the wood of well over 1,000 species of woody plants from northeastern Peru. Can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The young, hard fruits are used for making designs on hats and probably other articles[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. If a cross section of the fruit is pressed against the surface, a blackish circular figure of more or less permanence is left upon it[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The heartwood is light brown, with dark gum striping and extensive pale or dark gray areas caused probably by stain; the sapwood is a creamy yellow or almost white. The texture is medium tos coarse; the grain straight to interlocked; lustre is medium; there is no distinctive odour or taste. The wood is light in weight to moderately heavy; soft; of low natural durability. It seasons quickly, with risks of twisting. It is easy to work, though it saws woolly; planing, moulding and turning are good to excellent; it takes a moderately smooth finish. It is used for doors and panels, light boxes, mouldings, furniture etc[
363
Title
Technical Information on 134 Species of Bolivian Woods
Publication
 
Author
USDA Forest Service -- Forest Products Lab
Website
http://www2.fpl.fs.fed.us/publications/
Publisher
USDA Forest Service
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A PDF file, available for download. Exactly what the title says, brief and to the point.
,
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
,
453
Title
Woods of Northeastern Peru
Publication
 
Author
Williams L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Field Museum Press; Chicago.
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
Gives information on the properties of the wood of well over 1,000 species of woody plants from northeastern Peru. Can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shaded position in a nursery seedbed. A low germination rate can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 20 - 60 days[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. When the seedlings are 3 - 4cm tall, transplant them to individual containers. They are ready to plant out 8 - 9 months later[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

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