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Useful Tropical Plants

Ficus lutea

Vahl

Moraceae

+ Synonyms

Ficus akaie De Wild.

Ficus apodocephala Baker

Ficus arimensis Britton

Ficus baronii Baker

Ficus holstii Warb.

Ficus incognita De Wild.

Ficus kaba De Wild.

Ficus lanigera Warb.

Ficus nautarum Baker

Ficus nekbudu Warb.

Ficus neumannii Kunth & Bouché

Ficus pachyclada Baker

Ficus pseudovogelii A.Chev.

Ficus quibeba Welw. ex Ficalho (1884)

Ficus senegalensis Miq.

Ficus stolzii Mildbr.

Ficus subcalcarata Warb. & Schweinf.

Ficus trichosphaera Baker

Ficus utilis Sim

Ficus verrucocarpa Warb.

Ficus vestito-bracteata Warb.

Ficus vogelii (Miq.) Miq.

Urostigma vogelii Miq.

Common Name: Dahomey Rubber Tree

Ficus lutea
Cultivated tree, it has a heavy crop of fruit along the stems
Photograph by: Atamari
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
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General Information

Dahomey rubber tree is a briefly deciduous tree with enormous spreading branches; it usually grows about 15 - 20 metres tall. The bole is often short and buttressed; it can have a girth of around 3 metres[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
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 plant often begins life as an epiphyte, growing in the branch of another tree; as it grows older it sends down aerial roots which, when they reach the ground quickly form roots and become much thicker and more vigorous. They supply nutrients to the fig, allowing it to grow faster than the host tree. The aerial roots gradually encircle the host tree, preventing its main trunk from expanding, whilst at the same time the foliage smothers the foliage of the host. Eventually the host dies, leaving the fig to carry on growing without competition[
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 harvested from the wild for local use as a source of medicines, fibres, dyes, latex and potash. It is cultivated in parts of Africa for the bast fibres obtained from the bark (the var. Textilis is usually grown)[
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.
]. It is also planted in the villages as shade tree and often grown as an ornamental[
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.
,
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.
]. Plantations have been established in Florida and SE Asia for the production of latex, which is valued in the pharmaceutical industry[
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.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
570
Title
Adansonia Vol. 8.
Publication
Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle Tome 8
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle; Paris.
Year
1986
ISBN
 
Description
Contains, amongst others, a treatment of the genus Ficus (Figs) in Madagascar and Mauritius. It can be downloadd from the Internet.

Range

Tropical Africa - Senegal to Ethiopia, south to Angola in the west and S. Africa and Madagascar in the east.

Habitat

Wooded savannah, and secondary jungle, along streams or by swamps[
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/
]. Riverine, lowland, submontane and montane forests. In cleared areas[
364
Title
Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Lovett J.C.; Ruffo C.K.; Gereau R.E.; Taplin J.R.D
Website
http://www.york.ac.uk/res/celp/webpages/projects/ecology/tree%20guide/introduction.htm
Publisher
Frontier
Year
0
ISBN
1-873070-33-0
Description
A lovely little book giving a basic identification guide to more than 650 species of trees growing in Tanzania. It is also available to view on the internet.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitSemi-deciduous Tree
Height15.00 m
PollinatorsWasps
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 15 - 35°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 - 2,400mm, but tolerates 1,500 - 2,700mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Prefers a sunny position but also succeeds in light shade[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Succeeds in a wide range of fertile, well-drained soils[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Tolerant of strong winds and salt spray[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 5, tolerating 4 - 5.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
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 - raw[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. The yellow to orange to brownish fruit is up to 17mm in diameter[
570
Title
Adansonia Vol. 8.
Publication
Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle Tome 8
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle; Paris.
Year
1986
ISBN
 
Description
Contains, amongst others, a treatment of the genus Ficus (Figs) in Madagascar and Mauritius. It can be downloadd from the Internet.
].

Medicinal

A latex obtained from the tree is valued in the pharmaceutical industry[
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.
].

A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of stomach disorders, dysentery, sterility and colds[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].

Other Uses

A fibre is obtained from the bark[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
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.
]. It is used to make twine[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
The bark has been used for making bark cloth[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
364
Title
Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Lovett J.C.; Ruffo C.K.; Gereau R.E.; Taplin J.R.D
Website
http://www.york.ac.uk/res/celp/webpages/projects/ecology/tree%20guide/introduction.htm
Publisher
Frontier
Year
0
ISBN
1-873070-33-0
Description
A lovely little book giving a basic identification guide to more than 650 species of trees growing in Tanzania. It is also available to view on the internet.
].

A latex is obtained from the tree[
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.
]. It is valued in the pharmaceutical industry, and is used for caulking canoes[
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.
,
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
]. The latex can be used to make a good quality rubber, known as Dahomey rubber[
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.
].

The bark is used to obtain red-ochre dyes for raffia and silk textiles[
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 is said to be used as soap[
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.
]. The wood ashes are a source of potash, used when making soap[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].

The wood is used for making bowls[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

Propagation

Seed - germinates best at a temperature around 20°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Sow the seed in containers, only covering them very lightly with compost and firming them down gently. Place in a lightly shaded position, water well, but do not wash the seed away!. Germination times may vary from 10 - 30 days, and after around one week of growth the seedlings are best moved into a sunny position. Pot up into individual containers when large enough to handle[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Air layering[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Tip cuttings around 4 - 12cm long, taken from lateral branches[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

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