Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ficus aculeata A.Cunn. ex Miq.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Fig. © R.L. Barrett
Fig. © R.L. Barrett
Fig opened. © R.L. Barrett
Fig. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Fig, longitudinal section Most flowers female. © CSIRO
Female flowers. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Miquel, F.A.W. (1848) London Journal of Botany 7: 426. Type: "In Ora boreali (Novae Holl.?) Hb. Hook.!".

Common name

Fig, Sandpaper; Fig; Sandpaper Fig


Not a strangling fig. Seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh.


Petioles and twigs produce a watery, milky exudate. Leaf blades about 9 x 6 cm, sandpapery on both the upper and lower surfaces. Stipules about 0.4-1 cm long, hairy on the outer surface. Leafy twigs sandpapery.


Tepals glabrous. Male flowers produced around the ostiole. Flowers surrounded by numerous, bristle-like hairs. Bracts at the base of the fig, three. Lateral bracts not present on the outside of the fig body.


Figs pedunculate, globular, about 7-10 mm diam. Orifice closed by interlocking and inflexed bracts.


Cotyledons about 4 x 4 mm, petioles about 1 mm long. First leaves small and hairy, about 10 x 8 mm. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade about 4.8-5.5 x 4-4.5 cm. Leaf blade margin dentate, underside hispid (feels like sandpaper). Stipules narrowly triangular, about 3 mm long. Seed germination time 20 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in WA, NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 450 m. Grows in open forest, gallery forest, monsoon forest and vine forests.

Natural History & Notes

Two varieties occur: var aculeata in WA, NT, CYP and NEQ (leaf undersurface densely hairy obscuring the aereoles) and var. indecora in WA and NT (leaf undersurface less hairy and aeroles visible).

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