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Ficus microcarpa


Ficus microcarpa L.f.

Family Name: Moraceae
Synonyms: Ficus rubra, Ficus littoralis, Ficus aggregata
Common Name: Malayan Banyan, Jejawi, Curtain Fig, Chinese Banyan, Glossy-leaf Fig, Jawi Jawi, Small-Fruited Fig, Indian Laurel Fig, Laurel Fig, 榕树, 马来亚榕


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Rounded, Umbrella, Broad / Mushroom / Hemispherical
Maximum Height 30 m


Native Distribution India, South China, Indochina, Malesia, Polynesia, Tropical Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest, Coastal Forest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Riverine, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a latex-containing, evergreen tree up to 30 m tall, with a rounded or flattened crown shape and numerous, slender aerial roots hanging down from the branches, and twigs. These roots eventually develop into stout, pillar roots. It is one type of strangler fig and may begin life as an epiphyte. This species resembles Ficus benjamina, but its twigs do not droop and the leaf tip is usually more blunt. 
Crown Rounded or flattened.
Trunk Bark is light grey and smooth. Branches are held horizontally or inclined. They have an abundance of aerial roots hanging down from them that form a curtain-like mass. Some of these roots develop into woody, pillar roots that help support the spreading tree crown.
Roots Numerous, slender aerial roots hanging down from the branches, and twigs. These roots eventually develop into stout, pillar roots
Foliage Its alternate, stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are oval, elliptic to slightly reverse egg-shaped. They also have blunt, or scarcely pointed tips, and are 2–14 by 1–9 cm.
Flowers The plant is monoecious, producing unisexual flowers on the same individual. Both male and female flowers are stalkless.
Fruit Its round syconia (figs) develop singly, or in stalkless pairs, and are 5–7 mm wide. They ripen a dark pink to deep purple at maturity.
Habitat Habitat: Native to moist climates at altitudes of less than 1830 m. Occurs on rocky coasts, cliffs and riverbanks. It is also found in mixed forests, mountain forests, back mangroves and swampy flood plains inland of mangroves. In Hawaii, it is considered an invasive species.
Associated Fauna It is the locally preferred food plant for caterpillars of the butterfly, the scarce silverstreak (Iraota rochana boswelliana), the adult of which lays its eggs singly on the stem or the undersides of leaves. The ripe figs are eaten by frugivores, such as birds, bats, rodents, squirrels and long-tailed macaques.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed, stem cutting or air-layering.
Etymology Latin Ficus, commercial edible figs; Latin micro, small; Latin karpos, fruit, referring to the plant’s small figs
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: Headache, toothache, and wounds can be treated by the administration of the bark, latex from the leaves, and roots. Additionally, colic and liver problems can be treated by ingesting the bark, and latex from the leaves.
Others: The aerial roots of this species are used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat toothache, rheumatism and inflammation of the feet. In India, latex extracted from the leaves is consumed to treat liver disease or applied to the skin to treat colic. They use the bark and leaves to relieve headaches, while leaves and roots are thought to promote healing of bruises and wounds. Some Buddhists consider this species to be sacred. They make offerings to the trees on small altars placed at their base.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Varieties of this plant species, particularly the golden-green variety, is trained as hedges, roadside border plants, or used in bonsai. It is suitable for planting in large gardens or parks as a shade tree.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Coastal, Hedge / Screening, Topiary, Bonsai

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Fruits), Caterpillar Food Plant, Bat Food (Fruits)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Ant, Beetle, Fly, Thrip, Wasp))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna) (Vertebrates (Bat), Vertebrates (Other Mammal))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Monoecious
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Inflorescence Type Syconium

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Pink, Purple
Fruit Classification Multiple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Accessory / False Fruit (Pseudocarp)

Image Repository



Master ID 1619
Species ID 2912
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 18 February 2022.