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Useful Tropical Plants

Ficus palmata

Forssk.

Moraceae


This species is closely related to the common fig, Ficus carica.

+ Synonyms

Ficus caricoides Roxb.

Ficus forsskalii Vahl

Ficus morifolia auct.

Ficus petitiana A.Rich.

Ficus pseudocarica Miq.

Ficus pseudosycomorus Decne.

Common Name: Wild Fig

Ficus palmata
Lower part of the plant. There are a few ripening fruits if you look carefully
Photograph by: Liné1
GNU Free Documentation License
Ficus palmata Ficus palmata

General Information

Ficus palmata is a deciduous shrub or much-branched small tree growing up to 5 metres tall.
The plant is often gathered from the wild for its edible fruits and young shoots. It is often cultivated for its fruit in India and Ethiopia and has been recommended for commercial cultivation[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
,
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.
]. The fruits are often sold in local markets in the Himalayas[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
].

Known Hazards

The sap and the half-ripe fruits are said to be poisonous.

Botanical References

272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
,
500
Title
Flora of Somalia
Publication
 
Author
Thulin M. (Editor)
Publisher
Kew Publishing, London.
Year
1993
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the plants of the region, often adding notes on the plants uses.

Range

Northeast Africa - Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan; through Arabia and temperate Asia to northern India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Habitat

Occasionally found in forests, more commonly around villages, in waste ground, fields etc[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. Open places, generally along the banks of streams at elevations of 600 - 2,700 metres in Nepal[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height4.00 m
PollinatorsWasps
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the warm temperate to subtropical zones, also found at higher elevations of 1,000 metres or more in the tropics. Young growth, even on mature plants, is frost-tender.
Requires a well-drained medium to light loam and some lime rubble incorporated into the soil. A heavy wet soil tends to encourage excessive plant growth at the expense of fruit.
This species has been recommended for growing in areas where the climate is too wet for common figs (Ficus carica) since it fruits during the monsoon season in the Himalayas. However, it probably requires the fig-wasp in order to pollinate the flowers and so is unlikely to fruit in areas that are too cold for the fig-wasp to survive.
Annual yields from wild trees is about 25kg[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
].
There is a potential for commercial cultivation[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
].
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. Sweet and succulent[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
]. A very tasty fruit[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
], it is often dried for later use. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. The fruit contains about 6% sugars, 1.7% protein, 0.9% ash and 0.2% pectin[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. Low in vitamin C, about 3.3mg per 100g[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
].

The unripe fruits and young shoots are cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
,
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.
]. They are boiled, the water is removed by squeezing and they are then fried. A nice green vegetable[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal

The fruit is demulcent, emollient, laxative and poultice[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
,
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. It is used as a part of the diet in the treatment of constipation and diseases of the lungs and bladder[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].

The sap is used in the treatment of warts.

The latex of the plant is used to take out spines lodged deeply in the flesh[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

Other Uses

The plant is used as a rootstock for the common fig (Ficus carica)[
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.
].

The pliable wood is of little value but has been used for making hoops, garlands, ornaments etc.

Propagation

Seed - sow in a lightly shaded position in a nursery seedbed and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out when 15cm or more tall.
Cuttings of mature wood 10 - 12cm long with a heel. Fairly easy, but the cuttings must be kept frost free. It is probably best if the cuttings are put in individual pots[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
].
Layering.

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