Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ficus septica Burm.f.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and figs. © CSIRO
Figs, side views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Gall flowers. © CSIRO
Fig long section, most flowers female, male flowers near apex. © CSIRO
Male flowers. © CSIRO
Female flowers, perianth cupular, style hairy or spiny. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Burman, N.L. (1768) Flora Indica : 226. Type: Habitat in India.

Common name

Fig; Septic Fig; Fig, Septic


Not a strangling fig and seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh. Bark exudate rapid and copious. Blaze odour may resemble that of freshly cut green Pawpaw (Carica papaya).


Petioles and twigs usually produce a yellowish exudate. Oil dots visible on the underside of the leaf blade. Stipules about 1.2-5 cm long. Leaf blades about 12-20 x 5-7 cm. Midrib cream, raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade.


Male flowers: Flowers produced around the ostiole. Bristles interspersed among the female and gall flowers. Female and gall perianths entire, without lobes, style hairy almost throughout. Bracts at the base of the fig, three. Lateral bracts not present on the outside of the fig body.


Figs pedunculate, +/- globular, about 15-20 mm diam. Orifice closed by interlocking apical and internal bracts.


Cotyledons almost orbicular, about 3 mm diam. First pair of leaves toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade broadly elliptic, apex acute, base obtuse, margins sinuate on the upper half of the leaf blade, teeth obscure, upper surface glabrous; oil dots not visible; flat glands sometimes visible on the underside of the leaf blade at the junction of the main lateral veins and the midrib; petiole with a few scattered hairs; stipules sheathing the terminal bud, glabrous, about 10-15 mm long. Seed germination time 23 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1000 m. Grows in areas of well developed rain forest on a variety of sites. This species is favoured by disturbance and is a frequent component of rain forest regrowth. Also occurs in SE Asia, Malesia, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties. ( /herbage/A11284.htm)

Stem bark material of this species was active against tumor cell cultures. The main alkaloids are (+)-tylocrebrine and (-)-tylophorine. (See Tylophora benthamii). Collins et al. (1990).

Ficus septica Burm.f. var. septica, The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 18 : 61(1960). Ficus casearia Benth. var. casearia, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 570(1928). Ficus casearia var. glochidioides (F.Muell. ex Benth) Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 570(1928), Type: Queensland, Rockingham Bay, J. Dallachy? ( Not clear if this is intended as the type.). Ficus casearia Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 177(1873), Type: Queensland. Rockingham Bay, Dallachy; Fitzroy island and Endeavour river, Herb. Delessert. Ficus septica var. cauliflora Corner, The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 18: 61(1960), Type: E.S. Brown 5482 (Soloman Isl., San Cristoval, Kira Kira, typus herb. Br. Mus.). Ficus casearia var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 570(1928), Type: Rockingham bay, DALLACHY.
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