Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ficus nodosa Teijsm. & Binn.

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Figs [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Figs, side views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Habit, trunk, leaves and figs [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Female flowers, tepal margins hairy or fimbriate. © CSIRO

Teijsmann, J.E. & Binnendijk, S. (1867) Natuurkundig Tijdshrift voor Nederlandsch Indi 29: 245. Type: Crescit in insulis Moluccanis prov. Ambon, DE FRETES. Nom. incol. Gondal.

Common name

Cape Fig; Fig, Cape; Fig, Rocky River; Rocky River Fig


Not a strangling fig. Deciduous; leafless for a short period between July and September. Bark exudate rapid and copious.


Leaf blades rather large, about 12-24 x 10-18 cm, cordate. Twigs and petioles produce a milky exudate. Stipules about 1-2 cm long, densely clothed in pale, prostrate silky hairs. Bark on the older twigs reddish and somewhat scaly.


Tepals lacinate, glabrous. Male flowers produced around the ostiole. Stigma swollen, cylindric, papillose. Bracts at the base of the fig, three, persistent. Lateral bracts not present on the outside of the fig body.


Figs produced on special leafless shoots which occur in large bunches at a few points on the trunk and larger branches. Figs pedunculate, +/- globose, depressed globose or depressed pyriform, about 40 x 45 mm. Orifice closed by +/- interlocking apical bracts and inflexed internal bracts. Inner surface of the fig irregularly lobed.


Cotyledons +/- orbicular, about 3-4 mm diam. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade broadly ovate to cordate, apex acute to acuminate, base cordate, margins crenate to dentate, about 5-10 teeth each side of the leaf blade; upper surface of the leaf blade with a few hairs along the midrib, lower surface hairy on the midrib and lateral veins; oil dots or glands visible with a lens on the underside of the leaf blade; stipules sheathing the terminal bud, shed early, narrowly triangular, with a few hairs near the apex. Seed germination time 41 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 100 m. Usually grows in gallery forest along creeks and rivers. Also occurs in Malesia and the SW Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

Fruit eaten by Bare-backed Fruit bats. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

A large tree suitable for cultivation in tropical parkland. Older trees have smooth pinkish trunks with high spreading buttresses.

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