Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Ficus fistulosa


Ficus fistulosa Reinw. ex Blume

Family Name: Moraceae
Common Name: Common Yellow Stem-Fig, Ara Serapat, Kelampung Bukit, 黄柄榕, 牛乳树


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 Irregular
Maximum Height 18 m


Native Distribution Northeast India, Nicobar Islands to south China, Taiwan, Thailand, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Borneo, and Java to New Guinea
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Mountain, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Riverine, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree reaching up to 18 m tall, containing white latex, with hollow young twigs, and figs borne on its trunk.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked leaves have somewhat leathery leaf blades that are oval to drop-shaped, dark green, 4–34 by 1.5–17 cm, and with lightly toothed or wavy margins
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 syconia (figs) are found in clusters at the leaf-axils or on trunks and branches, and are somewhat round to pear-shaped, slightly rough on the surface, green with white dots then pale to greenish yellow when mature, and 1–4 cm wide.
Habitat It grows in lowlands to lower montane forests, including secondary forests, forest edges, hedges, open forests, and along streams, up to 2,000 m altitude. It occurs locally from various forest fragments, such as those around MacRitchie Reservoir, off Sime Road, and Old Upper Thomson Road.
Associated Fauna The fig wasps associated with this plant species are Ceratosolen constrictus, and Ceratosolen hewitti. The clusters of figs along the trunk attract arboreal mammals, including fruit bats.
Cultivation The plant can be propagated by seed or by stem cuttings.
Etymology Latin Ficus, the commercial edible fig (Ficus carica); Latin fistulosa, hollow throughout, referring to the hollow twigs of the fig tree
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit or Vegetable): Its young leaves and syconia are eaten in salads. A drink can be made from the leaves. 
Medicinal: A decoction of the roots is given to women after labour or child birth. Its latex is used with other herbs as a poultice to treat headaches.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This plant has no destructive roots that damage urban ground, and therefore, make an attractive park or roadside tree. Its figs provide food for fruit-eating bats and tree-living mammals such as squirrels.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Fruits, Ornamental Form
Landscape Uses Suitable for Roadsides, General, Parks & Gardens, Shade Providing Tree / Palm

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bat Food
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Drought Tolerant, Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Fertile Loamy Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
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, Spiral
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Oval)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate, Serrate / Toothed

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) Green - Light Green
Fruit Classification Multiple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Accessory / False Fruit (Pseudocarp)

Image Repository



Master ID 29872
Species ID 4181
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: 22 February 2022.