Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ficus hispida L.f.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Figs, side views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Figs on cauliflorous infructescences. © B. Gray
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Female fls, perianth cupular, stigma swollen, no hairs among fls. © CSIRO
Gall flowers, perianth cupular, style glabrous. © CSIRO
Male flowers, anthers 2-celled. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. von filius (1782) Supplementum Plantarum : 442. Type: Habitat in Java. Thunberg.

Common name

Hairy Fig; Fig, Hairy; Fig Tree; Fig; Boombil


Not a strangling fig. Bark exudate pale brown or turning pink and then pale brown on exposure.


Leaf blades about 15-35 x 6-20 cm, rough and sandpapery on both the upper and lower surfaces. Petiole and twigs produce a watery milky yellow exudate. Flat glands usually visible on the underside of the leaf blade in the forks of the lateral veins and the midrib. Oil dots visible with a lens. Stipules about 0.6-1 cm long, slightly hairy and tapering to a point at the apex.


Perianth entire, without any lobes. Male flowers produced around the ostiole. Style hairy on the upper half, stigma swollen, minutely papillose. Bracts at the base of the fig, three. Lateral bracts usually present on the outside of the fig body.


Figs pedunculate, depressed globular to almost discoid, about 15-30 x 25-35 mm. Orifice closed by interlocking apical and internal bracts.


Cotyledons orbicular, about 2-3 mm diam. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade ovate to obovate, apex acuminate, base obtuse, margin crenate, teeth mainly along upper 2/3 of the leaf blade; both the upper and lower surfaces scabrous; oil dots small, numerous, visible with a lens from the underside of the leaf blade; stipules sheathing the terminal bud, narrowly triangular, persistent, midrib hairy. Seed germination time 14 to 208 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from sea level to 800 m. Grows in well developed lowland rain forest, gallery forest and upland rain forest. Also occurs in Asia and Malesia. This species provides a good supply of food for feral pigs on parts of Cape York Peninsula and as the figs are produced down to ground level the pigs can easily command the lower part of the crop.

Natural History & Notes

Fruit eaten by Double-eyed Fig-parrots. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Covellia hispida (L.f.) Miq., Hooker's London Journal of Botany 7 : 462(1848). Ficus hispida L.f. var. hispida, The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 18 : 53(1960). Ficus oppositifolia Roxb., Pl. Coromandel 2: 14(1798), Type: India, Coromandel Coast, W. Roxburgh. Covellia oppositifolia (Roxb.) Gasp., Richerche sulla natura del caprifico 8: 85(1845).
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