Urostigma lapathifolium Liebm.
Ficus lapathifolia is a medium-sized or large evergreen tree. It often starts life as an epiphyte in the branch of a tree and can eventually send down aerial roots that, once they reach the ground, provide extra nutrients that help the plant grow more vigorously. These aerial roots can completely encircle the trunk of the host tree, constricting its growth - this, coupled with the more vigorous top growth, can lead to the fig outcompeting and killing the tree in which it is growing[
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
C. America to Northern America - southern Mexico.
Moist thickets or forest, often on open hillsides or along streams, ascending from sea level to about 1,200 metres[
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[
]. The green, globose fruit is 15 - 20mm in diameter[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.