Ficus schweinfurthii Miq.
Ficus vallis-choudae is a shrub that can be as small as 3 - 5 metres, but is more commonly a tree that can grow up to 18 metres tall[
]. It has a short bole that is sometimes buttressed, and a widely spreading crown of conspicuously large toothed ovate leaves[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for its edible fruit and timber.
Tropical Africa - Senegal to Ethiopia, south to Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Damp sites, stream-banks and into dry savannah[
]. A riverine tree, also found beside lakes and in forests with a high ground water-table, at elevations from 400 - 1,800 metres[
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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 fleshy fruits are eaten as a snack, especially by children and travellers[
]. The yellow-orange, globose fruit is 3 - 6cm in diameter[
The wood is used for cheap furniture, domestic utensils, beer pots, grain mortars, stools, water containers, beehives, drums, cattle troughs etc[
The wood is used for fuel[
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