Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition
Ficus benjamina L.
Linnaeus, C. von (1767) Mantissa Plantarum : 129. Type: Habitat in India.
Benjamin Fig; Fig, Benjamin; Fig, Weeping; Weeping Fig
A strangling fig or sometimes growing on rocks. Lenticels tending to be in horizontal lines. Twigs and branches weeping but not as conspicuously as Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica). Dead bark yellowish brown when cut.
Cotyledons small, almost orbicular, about 2-3 mm long. Oil dots very small, difficult to see with a lens. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade lanceolate, glabrous, veins about 12-20 each side of the midrib, intramarginal vein distinct; oil dots small, visible with a lens; stipules narrowly triangular, sheathing the terminal bud and falling early soon after the shoot expands. Seed germination time 13 to 34 days.
Occurs in NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 250 m. Grows in monsoon forest and drier, more seasonal rain forest. Also occurs in SE Asia and Malesia. This species is widely cultivated in Queensland but it is not at all certain that the cultivated form originated in Australia.
Fruit eaten by Fruit Pigeons. Cooper & Cooper (1994).
Commonly cultivated as a large spreading shade tree. Withstands strong winds. Also grown extensively as an indoor plant.