Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ficus obliqua G.Forst.

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Leaves and figs. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Male & female flowers(?). © CSIRO
Male flowers. © CSIRO
Fig, longitudinal section. © CSIRO
Illustration of fig, leaf and branch. © A. Field

Forster, J.G. (1786) Florulae Insularum Australium Prodromus : 77. Type: Vanuatu, Namoka, Tanna Island, G. Forster. Fide Dixon et al. (2001).

Common name

Small Leaved Fig; Small-leafed Fig; Small Leaf Fig; Fig, Small-leafed; Fig, Small Leaved; Fig, Small Leaf; Fig; Figwood


A strangling fig. Exudate copious.


Leaf blades small, about 5-12 x 1.5-5 cm. Leaf bearing twigs slender, about 1.5-3 mm diam. Stipules 1.5-3 cm long. Petioles about 1-1.5 cm long, channelled on the upper surface.


Tepals glabrous. Male flowers dispersed among the fruitlets of the ripe figs. Anthers reniform. Stigma cylindric, papillose often slightly coiled. Bracts at the base of the fig, two. Lateral bracts not present on the outside of the fig body.


Figs shortly pedunculate, globose, about 6-10 mm diam. Orifice triradiate, +/- closed by inflexed internal bracts.


Cotyledons +/- orbicular, about 2-4 mm diam., apex emarginate with a small gland (visible with a lens) in the notch. A few 'oil dots' visible with a lens. First pair of leaves toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade lanceolate, margins usually entire, glabrous; oil dots not visible; petiole and stem glabrous; stipules large, sheathing the terminal bud, narrowly triangular, about 10-30 mm long, glabrous. Taproot swollen, carrot-like (Daucus carota). Seed germination time 11 to 28 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 1000 m. Grows in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites. Also occurs in Malesia and the SW Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

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

Food plant for the larval stages of the Australian Crow and Eichhorn's Crow Butterflies. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

This species may have medicinal properties. ( /herbage/A11264.htm)

Ficus obliqua G.Forst. var. obliqua, The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 17 : 402(1960). Urostigma obliquum (G.Forst.) Miq., Hooker's London Journal of Botany 6: 563(1847). Ficus backhousei (Miq.) Miq., Annales Musei Botanici Lugduno-Batavi 3: 288(1868). Ficus eugenioides (Miq.) Miq., Annales Musei Botanici Lugduno-Batavi 3: 268(1868). Ficus eugenioides (Miq.) Miq. var. eugenioides, Flora Australiensis 6: 167(1873). Ficus tryonii F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agricultural Journal 17(2): 103(1906), Type: Middle Percy Island. On high elevated localities. Tryon and Young Exped., Dec., 1905; holo: BRI; iso: K. Ficus virginea Hiern, The Journal of Botany 39: 2(1901), Type: Queensland, Booby Island, 1770, J. Banks; iso: MEL. Urostigma eugenioides Miq., Journal de Botanique Neerlandaise 1: 238(1862), Type: Insula Albany, littori Novae Hollandiae borealis-orientalis contermina: WOODS. Urostigma backhousei Miq., Journal de Botanique Neerlandaise 1: 240(1862), Type: Nova Hollandia orientalis, in Nova Austro-Cambria: KEANIE, BACKHOUSE.
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