Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ficus albipila (Miq.) King

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Fig, side view and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Leaves [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Male and female flowers Note hairs among flowers. © CSIRO
Fig long section Note hairs among flowers. © CSIRO
Male flowers. © CSIRO

King, G. (1888) Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta 1(2) : 179.

Common name

Abbey Tree; Figwood; Fig; Fig, Poison; Poison Fig


Usually not a strangling fig. Bark flakes transparent, the green subrhytidome layer being visible through the flakes. Blaze odour somewhat unpleasant. Exudate watery milky, sometimes irritating to the skin.


Petioles and twigs produce a creamy or milky exudate. Leaf blades about 15-18 x 7-10 cm. Stipules about 0.8-1.5 cm long, densely clothed in fine white prostrate hairs. Younger twigs and petioles clothed in whitish hairs. Oil dots visible with a lens on both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade.


Flowers interspersed with numerous conspicuous bristles. Male flowers mainly around the ostiole, but dispersed among the female flowers as well. Bracts at the base of the fig, two. Lateral bracts not present on the outside of the fig body.


Figs pedunculate, +/- pyriform, about 12 x 12 mm, pubescent on the outer surface. Orifice closed by interlocking apical and reflexed internal bracts.


Cotyledons very small, oblong to orbicular, about 2-3 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade broadly obovate, apex acuminate, base obtuse, margin deeply and irregularly serrate, hairy on the upper surface, upper and lower surfaces somewhat sandpapery; oil dots small, visible with a lens; stipules narrowly triangular with a few pale hairs. Seed germination time 17 to 30 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 300 m. Grows in well developed lowland and upland rain forest on a variety of sites but is a characteristic component of the gallery forest on the creeks and rivers of Cape York Peninsula where appreciative, but still hungry, pigs beat distinct narrow paths from one tree to another during the fruiting season. Also occurs in SE Asia and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

Fruit eaten by Fruit Pigeons. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Copious white sap flow, cutters claim extremely irritant. S. Dansie

Ficus albipila (Miq.) King var. albipila, The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 17 : 408(1960). Covellia albipila Miq., Fl. Ned. Ind. Eerste Bijr. Suppl. : 434(1860), Type: Indonesia, collector unknown. Ficus colossea Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 163(1873), Type: Queensland. Herbert River, Rockingham Bay, Dallachy.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.