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Ficus variegata


Ficus variegata Blume

Family Name: Moraceae
Synonyms: Ficus polysyce Ridl.
Common Name: Common Red-stem Fig, Variegated fig, Variegated rubber plant, Ara kelumpang, 青果榕, 杂色榕

Ficus variegata or Common Red-stem Fig is a deciduous tree native to Singapore. Reaching 40 m tall, it produces egg-shaped, elliptic to elongated leaves. Figs are pink or red, and can be found in clusters on thick, rough stalks along the branches and trunk. This keystone species supports numerous fauna such as their fig wasp pollinator, Ceratosolen appendiculatus. Ripe figs are food for plantain squirrels and long-tailed macaques. The species is also a host plant for the butterfly, Mecodina lanceola.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Big (>30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Conical


Native Distribution India, Andaman Islands, Myanmar, south China, Taiwan, Ryukyu Islands, Indochina, Thailand, Malesia (including Singapore), Solomon Islands, and Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, 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 medium-sized tree up to 40 m tall, with a conical crown. It has conspicuous and spreading buttresses developing from its trunk. The plant is easy to identify when it bears syconia (figs).
Crown Conical
Roots Spreading buttresses
Foliage Its spirally arranged, long-stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are egg-shaped to oval to oblong with pointed tips, and 6–35 by 2–15 cm. Its young leaves have larger, toothed leaf blades.
Flowers The plant is dioecious with each plant bearing male or female flowers. The flowers are tiny and develop within the syconium (fig).
Fruit Its long-stalked syconia (figs) are pear-shaped, green with rose-red streaks when ripe, up to 5 cm wide, and develop in dense clusters on short twigs, up to 7.6 cm long, arising from the trunk and main branches. It has been observed that only trees that are taller than 5–7.6 m bear figs.
Habitat It grows in villages, along the edges or in open areas in lowland forests up to 1,200 m altitude. It occurs locally in Fort Canning Park and Pulau Ubin.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by the fig wasp (Ceratosolen appendiculatus), and its ripe syconia are eaten by birds.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Latin Ficus, the commercial edible fig (Ficus carica); Latin variegata, irregularly coloured, referring to the ripening figs that are green with rose-red streaks
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal:

The latex from the bark are reportedly used as a poultice on wounds. 

Others: The fibrous bark was previously used to make felt, that is in turn used to make loincloth.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping The tree is attractive when it bears figs, as its trunk and branches will be densely covered with its green or rose-red figs.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna) (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


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

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Dioecious
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Cauliflorous
Inflorescence Type Syconium

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Red, Orange
Fruit Classification Multiple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Accessory / False Fruit (Pseudocarp)

Image Repository



Master ID 1624
Species ID 2917
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: 05 March 2024.