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
Cultivated tree, it has a heavy crop of fruit along the stems
Photograph by: Atamari
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
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[
]. 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[
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)[
]. It is also planted in the villages as shade tree and often grown as an ornamental[
]. Plantations have been established in Florida and SE Asia for the production of latex, which is valued in the pharmaceutical industry[
Tropical Africa - Senegal to Ethiopia, south to Angola in the west and S. Africa and Madagascar in the east.
Wooded savannah, and secondary jungle, along streams or by swamps[
]. Riverine, lowland, submontane and montane forests. In cleared areas[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
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[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 - 2,400mm, but tolerates 1,500 - 2,700mm[
Prefers a sunny position but also succeeds in light shade[
]. Succeeds in a wide range of fertile, well-drained soils[
]. Tolerant of strong winds and salt spray[
].Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 5, tolerating 4 - 5.5[
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[
Fruit - raw[
]. The yellow to orange to brownish fruit is up to 17mm in diameter[
A latex obtained from the tree is valued in the pharmaceutical industry[
A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of stomach disorders, dysentery, sterility and colds[
A fibre is obtained from the bark[
]. It is used to make twine[
The bark has been used for making bark cloth[
A latex is obtained from the tree[
]. It is valued in the pharmaceutical industry, and is used for caulking canoes[
]. The latex can be used to make a good quality rubber, known as Dahomey rubber[
The bark is used to obtain red-ochre dyes for raffia and silk textiles[
The wood is said to be used as soap[
]. The wood ashes are a source of potash, used when making soap[
The wood is used for making bowls[
Seed - germinates best at a temperature around 20°c[
]. 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[
Tip cuttings around 4 - 12cm long, taken from lateral branches[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.