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Ficus drupacea Thunb.

Family Name: Moraceae
Common Name: Brown Woolly Fig

Growing to 35 m tall, Ficus drupacea is a strangler fig tree with abundant free hanging aerial roots. Young shoots are densely covered with pale brown hairs. At maturity, the elliptical figs turn yellow to orange or dull red, and are subtended by persistent semicircular bracts.

Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Epiphyte Tree

Name

Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names
Comments
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree, Epiphyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 35 m

Biogeography

Native Distribution From Sri Lanka, India to Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Australia (Queensland).
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Exotic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a strangler fig tree, up to 35 m tall with abundant free hanging aerial roots. When injured, the plant exudates white sticky latex.
Foliage Spirally arranged to slightly planar (subdistichous), the leaves are elliptic to egg-shaped, about (7–) 10 – 20 (–35) cm long and (3–) 4 – 8 (–16) cm wide. They are dark green and leathery. The leaf tip is shortly pointed to rounded while the leaf base is heart-shaped to rounded. Each leaf has (6–) 8 – 12 (–14) pairs of lateral veins. The basal vein is up to 1/10 – 1/5 (–1/4) the length of the leaf blade. Waxy gland is observed at the base of the midrib. Young shoots are densely covered with pale brown hairs and becomes glabrous as they mature. Mature leaves may have brown hairs on the midvein on the upper surface or on the underside of the leaf blade. Mineral concretion (cystoliths) are found on both surfaces of the leaves. The leaf stalk (petiole) is about 1 – 4.5 cm long, while the stipules are about 1–1.5(–2) cm long and falls off early.
Fruits The figs are sessile and occur at the leaf axils in clusters of 1 – 2. Each fig has 2 – 3 bracts at the base. These bracts are semicircular shaped (0.5 – 3 mm) and persistent. The fig is elliptical to oblong (about 1 – 2 (–2.5) cm diameter) and concave at the tip. At maturity, they turn yellow to orange or dull red. The ostiole is prominent (about 2 – 3 mm diameter) and often with a rim. The ostiole is closed by overlapping bracts where only the highly specialized pollinators can enter. The ovary is reddish.
Habitat It is found in rainforest, up to 1000 m altitude.
Similar Ficus drupacea is similar to F. bracteata and F consociata. F. drupacea has elliptical fig (1 – 2.5 cm diameter) with concave tip and small bracts (0.5 – 3 mm long) while F. bracteata has round figs (1.2 – 2.2 cm diameter) with concave tip and larger bracts (7 – 9 mm long). Likewise, F. consociata has round figs (0.8 – 1.2 cm diameter) with convex tip and larger bracts (4 – 8 mm long).
Associated Fauna It is pollinated by fig wasps. Fruits are eaten and dispersed by birds and small mammals.
Etymology Ficus, in Latin, refers to the commercial edible fig (Ficus carica). The specific epithet drupaceus, in Latin, means drupe-like, referring to the syconia (fig).
Ethnobotanical Uses Cultural / Religious ( Heritage Tree: There are 4 individuals of Ficus drupacea listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore. All can be found in Singapore Polytechnic. To find out more about these trees, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.)

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate

Foliar

Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Orange, Yellow / Golden

References

References Berg, C.C., and Corner, E.J.H. (2005). Moraceae: Ficeae. In Nooteboom, H.P. (ed) Flora Malesiana, Ser. 1, Vol. 17 Part 2, pp. vi – 730. Leiden: Nationaal Herbarium Nederland. 
Berg, C.C., Pattharahirantricin, N., and Chantarasuwan, B. (2011). Moraceae. In Santisuk, T. & Larsen, K. (eds.) Flora of Thailand 10(4): 469-675. The Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department.

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Master ID 33724
Species ID 8138
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: 17 September 2021.
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