Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ficus rubiginosa Desf. ex Vent. f. rubiginosa

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Leaves and figs. © G. Sankowsky
Figs. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Male flowers, anthers opening on one suture. © CSIRO

Ventenat, E.P. (1805) Jard. Malm. : 114. Type: New Holland; holo: FI. Fide Dixon et al. (2001).

Common name

Fig; Small-leaved Fig; Larger Small-leaved Fig; Larger Small Leaf Fig; Fig, Larger Small Leaf; Fig, Small-leaved


A strangling fig, hemi-epiphyte or lithophyte to 30 m.


Petioles and twigs produce a milky exudate. Stipules about 2-6 cm long, usually smooth on the outer surface, occasionally hairy. Petioles to 4 cm long, channelled on the upper surface. Leaf blades rather variable in shape, about 6-10 x 2-3 cm; leaves hairy.


Tepals glabrous. Male flowers dispersed among the fruitlets in 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 pedunculate, globose, about 10-18 mm diam. Orifice triradiate, +/- closed by inflexed internal bracts.


Cotyledons ovate-oblong, about 5 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves ovate, apex acute or bluntly acute, base obtuse or cordate, margin entire, glabrous, somewhat triplinerved at the base; oil dots not visible; stipules large, sheathing the terminal bud, about 20-40 mm long. Taproot swollen, carrot-like (Daucus carota). Seed germination time 15 to 44 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as the New South Wales-Victoria border. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 900 m. Grows in monsoon forest, the drier, more seasonal rain forest and dry scrubs.

Natural History & Notes

An attractive large spreading tree suitable for planting as shade trees especially for dryer areas.

Urostigma rubinosum (Desf. ex Vent.) Gasp., Nov. Gen. Fic. : 7(1844). Ficus australis Willd., Species Plantarum 4: 1138(1806). Mastosuke rubiginosa (Desf. ex Vent.) Raf., Sylva Tellur. : 59(1838). Urostigma leichhardtii Miq., J. Bot. Neerl. 1: 235(1861), Type: Queensland, Cape Cleveland, F. Mueller; holo: U. Fide Dixon et al. (2001). Ficus macrophylla var. pubescens F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agric. Journal 26: 316(1911), Type: Queensland, F. M. Bailey; holo: K. Fide Dixon et al. (2001). Ficus rubiginosa var. variegata Guilf., Australian Plants : 178(1911). Ficus rubiginosa var. lucida Maiden, Forest Flora New South Wales 1: 10(1902). Ficus platypoda var. subacuminata Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 170(1873), Type: Queensland, Whitsunday Island, Henne; iso: NSW; MEL. Fide Dixon et al. (2001). Ficus baileyana Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 567(1921), Type: South Queensland, in rainforest. Ficus platypoda var. mollis Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 170(1873), Type: Queensland, Rockingam Bay, J. Dallachy; holo: K; iso: NSW. Fide Dixon et al. (2001). Ficus shirleyana Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 566(1928), Type: Nord-Queensland: in den Regenw~ulder bei Yungaburra (= Allumbah) (DOMIN Feb. 1910). Ficus leichhardtii var. angustata Miq., Annales Musei Botanici Lugduno-Batavi : 268(1868), Type: Whitsunday-island: Henne; holo: U. Fide Dixon. Ficus leichhardtii (Miq.) Miq., Annales Musei Botanici Lugduno-Batavi : 268(1868). Ficus platypoda var. petiolaris Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 169(1873), Type: Qld, Port Denison, Fitzalan; lecto: MEL. Fide Dixon et al. Syn: (Narran R. Leichhardt; Rockhampton, Bowman; Cape Cleveland, Burdekin Exped.). Ficus obliqua var. petiolaris (Benth.) Corner, The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 17: 402(1960), Type: ?.
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