Ficus delagoensis Sim.
Ficus langenburgii Warb.
Ficus sansibarica is a tree usually growing up to 20 metres tall but exceptionally to 40 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 food, medicine and material for basket making. It is planted in villages for amenity and to provide shade[
Tropical Africa - Senegal to DR Congo, Uganda and Kenya, south to Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland and S. Africa.
Riverine and evergreen forests, miombo and coastal woodland, usually at low elevations[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
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 subglobose fruits can be up to 10cm in diameter[
The figs are sometimes eaten by women as a tonic to promote fertility[
The split stems are used for making baskets[
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