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Useful Tropical Plants

Ficus microcarpa

L.f.

Moraceae

+ Synonyms

Ficus amblyphylla (Miq.) Miq.

Ficus cairnsii Warb.

Ficus condaravia Buch.-Ham.

Ficus littoralis Blume

Ficus retusiformis Lév.

Ficus rubra Roth

Urostigma amblyphyllum Miq.

Common Name: Chinese Banyan

Ficus microcarpa
Ripening fruit
Photograph by: Unknown
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Ficus microcarpa Ficus microcarpa Ficus microcarpa Ficus microcarpa Ficus microcarpa Ficus microcarpa Ficus microcarpa

General Information

Chinese banyan is an evergreen, small or medium-sized banyan tree with a dense, spreading crown; it can grow up to 25 metres tall and develope numerous slender aerial roots from the branches[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The bole has large buttresses[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
]. It can start 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[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
]. As the tree grows larger it produces aerial roots from the crown that descend and become prop roots, feeding and supporting the canopy and allowing it to spread even wider[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of fibre, latex and wood. It is cultivated, especially in southern India, as a shade tree in coffee plantations and is widely planted in SE Asia and other tropical regions as an ornamental shade 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 planted as a pioneer species in reforestation projects in Thailand[
998
Title
Forest Restoration Planting in Northern Thailand
Publication
Proceedings of the Southeast Asian Moving Workshop on Conservation, Management and Utilization of Forest Genetic Resources No. 31/2002
Author
Pakkad G.; Elliott S.; Anusarnsunthorn V. Et al
Website
http://www.fao.org/
Publisher
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Bangkok
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
A report on reforestation in northern Thailand by using specific pioneer species. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

E. Asia - southern China, Indian subcontinent, through southeast Asia to Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Habitat

Grows in widely varying locations, from rocky sea coasts to limestone hills, and from swampy ground near the sea to montane forest[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height25.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsWasps
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds in full sun to partial shade[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].Prefers a moist, fertile soil[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].
The plant is widely grown as an ornamental. In some areas, such as Hawaii, the wasp that fertilizes it has also been introduced and, in such circumstances the plant has escaped from cultivation and invaded native environments[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].
A fast-growing species[
998
Title
Forest Restoration Planting in Northern Thailand
Publication
Proceedings of the Southeast Asian Moving Workshop on Conservation, Management and Utilization of Forest Genetic Resources No. 31/2002
Author
Pakkad G.; Elliott S.; Anusarnsunthorn V. Et al
Website
http://www.fao.org/
Publisher
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Bangkok
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
A report on reforestation in northern Thailand by using specific pioneer species. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant can produce fruit all year round[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].
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

None known

Medicinal

The root, bark and leaf latex are used medicinally to treat wounds, headache and toothache[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The bark and leaf latex is taken internally to treat colic and liver trouble[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Patients with fever or headache perspire in the steam of boiling young leaves[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Grown as a shade tree for coffee plantations[
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 tree is planted as a pioneer species in northern Thailand in reforestation projects to restore native woodland - it is planted in degraded woodland and open areas in a mix with various other species that all have the ability to grow fast; produce dense, weed-suppressing crowns; and attract seed-dispersing wildlife, particularly birds and bats[
998
Title
Forest Restoration Planting in Northern Thailand
Publication
Proceedings of the Southeast Asian Moving Workshop on Conservation, Management and Utilization of Forest Genetic Resources No. 31/2002
Author
Pakkad G.; Elliott S.; Anusarnsunthorn V. Et al
Website
http://www.fao.org/
Publisher
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Bangkok
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
A report on reforestation in northern Thailand by using specific pioneer species. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

A fibre from the bark is made into 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.
].

The latex is used for caulking boats and waterproofing[
339
Title
Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability
Publication
 
Author
W.C. Clarke and R.R. Thaman (Editors)
Website
http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/80824e/80824E00.htm#Contents
Publisher
United Nations University Press, Tokyo
Year
1993
ISBN
92-808-0824-9
Description
The guide includes information on 100 species of plants for Agroforestry. It is also available on the web at the address given above.
].

The wood, including the aerial roots, is used locally in light construction, tool making etc[
339
Title
Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability
Publication
 
Author
W.C. Clarke and R.R. Thaman (Editors)
Website
http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/80824e/80824E00.htm#Contents
Publisher
United Nations University Press, Tokyo
Year
1993
ISBN
92-808-0824-9
Description
The guide includes information on 100 species of plants for Agroforestry. It is also available on the web at the address given above.
].
The wood is used for fuel[
339
Title
Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability
Publication
 
Author
W.C. Clarke and R.R. Thaman (Editors)
Website
http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/80824e/80824E00.htm#Contents
Publisher
United Nations University Press, Tokyo
Year
1993
ISBN
92-808-0824-9
Description
The guide includes information on 100 species of plants for Agroforestry. It is also available on the web at the address given above.
].

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.
].
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.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-06-14. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Ficus+microcarpa>

Comments

Donna 09th July 2016 16:41
I am curious if you can eat the fruit or if it is poisonous? I have it growing as a shrub in my backyard in Florida.

Thank you

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