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Useful Tropical Plants

Ficus thonningii

Blume

Moraceae

+ Synonyms

Ficus acrocarpa (Miq.) Miq.

Ficus acrocarpa Steud. ex Miq.

Ficus annobonensis Mildbr. & Hutch.

Ficus basarensis Warb. ex Mildbr. & Burret

Ficus bequaertii De Wild.

Ficus bongoensis Warb.

Ficus brevipedicellata cuneata De Wild.

Ficus burkei (Miq.) Miq.

Ficus butaguensis De Wild.

Ficus chlamydodora Warb.

Ficus cognata N.E.Br.

Ficus crassipedicellata De Wild.

Ficus cyphocarpa Mildbr.

Ficus dekdekena (Miq.) A.Rich.

Ficus dinteri Warb.

Ficus dusenii Warb.

Ficus erici-rosenii R. E.Fr.

Ficus eriocarpa Warb.

Ficus galpinii Warb.

Ficus goetzei Warb.

Ficus hochstetteri (Miq.) A.Rich.

Ficus iteophylla Miq.

Ficus kagerensis Lebrun & L.Touss.

Ficus mabifolia Warb.

Ficus mammigera R.E.Fr.

Ficus medullaris Warb.

Ficus microcarpa auct. sensu Vahl

Ficus neriifolia A.Rich.

Ficus neurocarpa Lebrun & L.Touss.

Ficus persicifolia Welw. ex Warb..

Ficus petersii Warb.

Ficus phillipsii Burtt Davy & Hutch.

Ficus psilopoga Welw. ex Ficalho

Ficus pubicosta Warb.

Ficus rhodesiaca Warb. ex Mildbr. & Burret

Ficus rokko Warb. & Schweinf.

Ficus ruficeps Warb.

Ficus rupicola Lebrun & L.Touss.

Ficus ruspolii Warb.

Ficus sassandrensis A.Chev.

Ficus schimperi (Miq.) A.Rich.

Ficus schinziana Warb.

Ficus spragueana Mildbr. & Burret

Ficus tropophyton Lebrun & L.Touss.

Urostigma acrocarpum Miq.

Urostigma burkei Miq.

Urostigma dekdekena Miq.

Urostigma hochstetteri Miq.

Urostigma schimperi Miq.

Common Name: Strangler Fig

Ficus thonningii
This is not one tree but two, and the natural arch was kept the way it is found today by Elephants before the road was put in. It is formed by two Strangler figs (Ficus thonningii) which strangled two Cape Olive trees (Olea capensis).
Photograph by: Malcolm and Amanda
Creative Commons License
Ficus thonningii Ficus thonningii Ficus thonningii Ficus thonningii Ficus thonningii Ficus thonningii Ficus thonningii

General Information

Strangler fig is an evergreen tree with a rounded to spreading, dense crown; it can grow 6 - 21 metres tall[
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.
]. 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. It eventually becomes a stilt-rooted, banyan-like tree with multiple ascending trunks and massive wide-spreading branches[
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 its fruit, medicinal virtues and the various commodities it can supply. It is often planted to offer cover from the scorching sun in recreational areas, market centres and schoolyards. It can also be planted to provide shelter during the cold winter months[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

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.

Range

Tropical Africa - Senegal to Ethiopia, south to S. Africa.

Habitat

The species is widely distributed in upland forest, open grassland, riverine and rocky areas and sometimes in savannah[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height15.00 m
PollinatorsWasps
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the drier to moist tropics, where it is found at elevations from 1,000 - 2,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 28°c, but can tolerate 16 - 36°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 750 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 600 - 2,500mm[
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 position in full sun, tolerating some 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.
]. Occurs on a wide variety of soils but favours light, deep and well-drained soils with neutral to acidic reaction and humus-rich or deep loamy soils[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 7, tolerating 4.5 - 7.5[
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.
]. Trees are relatively drought resistant[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Plants can flower and fruit nearly all year round in at least some parts of its range[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
This tree has an aggressive root system and should not be planted in a small garden or near buildings, swimming pools or paths[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
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 - cooked[
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.
]. A good jam can be made from the ripe fruits[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The fruits are 7 - 14mm in diameter[
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.
].

Leaves - cooked. They are occasionally eaten as a vegetable[
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
].

Medicinal

The bark is important in local medicine, and it is used in treating colds, sore throat, dysentery, wounds, constipation, nosebleed and to stimulate lactation[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
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.
].
Extracts of the bark are used in baths as a treatment of nervous illnesses, tuberculosis, paralysis and leprosy[
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 is used for wound fever[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The milky latex is dropped into the eye to treat cataracts[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

An infusion of the root and fibre is taken orally to help prevent abortion[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The powdered root is taken in porridge to stop nosebleed[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Large cuttings can be planted close to each other to form living fences and to help control erosion[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
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.
]. The leaf litter helps in the improvement of the nutrient status and water-holding capacity of the soil[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The tree has an aggressive root system and should not be planted in a small garden or near buildings, swimming pools or paths[
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.
].

Other Uses

Bark cloth is obtained by cutting out a strip or cylinder of bark, which causes the tree to produce a fine, matted covering of red, slender roots over the wound[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. An excellent cloth[
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.
].
Bark fibre is used for making mats[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The twined bark produces a strong rope, which is mostly used for fastening bundles of firewood before they are carried to the homestead for fastening slates onto a roof[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

A considerable amount of useful latex is produced by the tree[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The wood is creamy brown, has a fairly uniform structure, is light (510 kg/cubic m), soft to moderately hard, with a rough texture, tough, strong, easy to work; it finishes smoothly and holds nails firmly. Its durability is low, and it is easily attacked by termites[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Branches are used for firewood[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
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.
].

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.
].
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.
].
Trees are commonly planted using 20 - 50 cm long cuttings from which most of the leaves have been removed. Rooted cuttings are planted in the nursery and kept moist; but inserting cuttings directly in the field is also feasible[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Grows easily from large cuttings that are left in the shade for a few days to dry before planting[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. River sand should be placed at the bottom of the planting hole, to prevent the bottom of the truncheon from rotting[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It grows quickly into a fair-sized tree but is sensitive to cold winds. In the colder regions, young plants must be protected for the first 2-3 years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-08-25. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Ficus+thonningii>

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