Ficus macrophylla - Wikipedia

Ficus macrophylla – Wikipedia

Species of banyan tree

Ficus macrophylla, generally referred to as the Moreton Bay fig or Australian banyan, is a big evergreen banyan tree of the household Moraceae native to japanese Australia, from the Huge Bay–Burnett area within the north to the Illawarra in New South Wales, in addition to Lord Howe Island. Its frequent identify is derived from Moreton Bay in Queensland, Australia. It’s best recognized for its imposing buttress roots.

Ficus macrophylla is named a strangler fig as a result of seed germination often takes place within the cover of a bunch tree, the place the seedling lives as an epiphyte till its roots set up contact with the bottom, when it enlarges and strangles its host, ultimately changing into a freestanding tree by itself. People might attain 60 m (200 ft) in top. The massive leathery, darkish inexperienced leaves are 15–30 cm (6–12 in) lengthy.

The fruit is small, spherical, and greenish, ripening and turning purple at any time of 12 months; it is named a syconium, an inverted inflorescence with the flowers lining an inside cavity. Like all figs, it has an obligate mutualism with fig wasps; figs are pollinated solely by fig wasps, and fig wasps can reproduce solely in fig flowers. Many species of birds, together with pigeons, parrots, and numerous passerines, eat the fruit.

Ficus macrophylla is broadly used as a function tree in public parks and gardens in hotter climates resembling California, Portugal, Italy, Malta, northern New Zealand (Auckland), and Australia. Outdated specimens can attain large measurement, and their aggressive root system renders them unsuitable for all however the largest personal gardens.


South African botanist Christiaan Hendrik Persoon printed a proper description of the Moreton Bay fig in his 1807 work Synopsis Plantarum,[2] the fabric having been reported by French botanist René Louiche Desfontaines in 1804.[3] The sort specimen has been misplaced however was presumably positioned in Florence.[4] The particular epithet macrophylla is derived from the Historic Greek makros “massive” and phyllon “leaf”,[5] and refers back to the measurement of the leaves.[6] Within the early 19th century, Italian botanist Vincenzo Tineo of the Orto botanico di Palermo in Sicily obtained a plant from a French nursery that grew to a prodigious measurement with a banyan behavior. This way was propagated and grown in gardens round Sicily. A later director of the gardens, Antonino Borzì, described it as Ficus magnolioides in 1897, distinguishing it from F. macrophylla on account of its bigger leaves with greener undersides. This identify was broadly utilized in Europe.[1]

Australian botanist Charles Moore described Ficus columnaris in 1870 from materials collected from Lord Howe Island, selecting the species identify from the Latin columnaris for the column-like roots.[7] English botanist E. J. H. Nook diminished this to synonymy with F. macrophylla in 1965, earlier than P. S. Inexperienced famous it was distinct sufficient for subspecies standing in 1986. Australian botanist Dale J. Dixon reviewed materials and felt the variations too minor to warrant subspecific standing,[4] and recognised two varieties: Ficus macrophylla f. macrophylla, a free-standing tree endemic to mainland Australia; and Ficus macrophylla f. columnaris, a hemiepiphyte missing a definite foremost trunk and endemic to Lord Howe Island.[8] Evaluate of F. magnolioides by Silvio Fici and Francesco Maria Raimondo discovered that it was F. macrophylla f. columnaris.[1]

The species is often referred to as the Moreton Bay fig,[6] after Moreton Bay in southern Queensland, though it’s discovered elsewhere. An alternate identify—black fig—is derived from the darkish color of the ageing bark.[9]

With over 750 species, Ficus is likely one of the largest angiosperm genera.[10] Based mostly on morphology, Nook divided the genus into 4 subgenera;[8] later expanded to 6.[11] On this classification, the Moreton Bay fig was positioned in subseries Malvanthereae, sequence Malvanthereae, part Malvanthera of the subgenus Urostigma.[12] In his reclassification of the Australian Malvanthera, Dixon altered the delimitations of the sequence throughout the part however left this species in sequence Malvanthereae.[8]

In 2005, Dutch botanist Cornelis Berg accomplished Nook’s therapy of the Moraceae for the Flora Malesiana; the completion of that work had been delayed since 1972 on account of disagreements between Nook and C. J. J. G. van Steenis, editor of the Flora Malesiana.[13] Berg mixed sections Stilpnophyllum and Malvanthera into an expanded part Stilpnophyllum. This left the Moreton Bay fig in subsection Malvanthera, part Stilpnophyllum.[12]

In a 2008 research on DNA sequences from the nuclear ribosomal inside and exterior transcribed spacers, Danish botanist Nina Rønsted and colleagues rejected earlier subdivisions of the Malvanthera. As a substitute, they divided part Malvanthera into three subsections—Malvantherae, Platypodeae, and Hesperidiiformes. On this system, the Moreton Bay fig is within the subsection Malvantherae, together with F. pleurocarpa. The Malvantherae look like basal (an early offshoot) to the group. F. macrophylla type macrophylla is native to mainland Australia, whereas type columnaris of macrophylla colonised Lord Howe Island.[12] The part Malvanthera itself is believed to have advanced 41 million years in the past and radiated round 35 million years in the past.[11]


A Moreton Bay fig in Piazza Marina (Palermo), the most important of Europe. The aerial roots thicken into columns after reaching the bottom.

The Moreton Bay fig is an evergreen tree that may attain heights of 60 m (200 ft).[14] The trunk might be huge, with thick, distinguished buttressing, and attain a diameter of two.4 m (7.9 ft).[6] The tough bark is grey-brown,[15] and marked with numerous blemishes.[16] The Lord Howe type of Moreton Bay fig has a behavior of dropping aerial roots from its branches, which upon reaching the bottom, thicken into supplementary trunks which assist to assist the burden of its crown.[17]

It’s a rainforest plant and on this setting extra usually grows within the type of an epiphytic strangler vine than that of a tree. When its seeds land within the department of a bunch tree it sends aerial, “strangler” roots down the host trunk, ultimately killing the host and standing alone.[6]

It’s monoecious: every tree bears practical female and male flowers.[8] As indicated by its particular epithet, it has massive, elliptic, leathery, darkish inexperienced leaves, 15–30 cm (6–12 in) lengthy, and they’re organized alternately on the stems. The leaves and branches bleed a milky sap if reduce or damaged. The figs are 2–2.5 cm (0.8–1 in) in diameter, turning from inexperienced to purple with lighter spots as they ripen;[14] ripe fruit could also be discovered year-round,[16] though they’re extra considerable from February to Could.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Moreton Bay fig is a local of japanese coastal Australia, from the Huge Bay–Burnett area in central Queensland,[4] to the Shoalhaven River on the New South Wales south coast.[16] It’s present in subtropical, heat temperate, and dry rainforest,[18] the place, as an emergent tree, its crown might tower above the cover,[16] significantly alongside watercourses on alluvial soils. Within the Sydney area, F. macrophylla grows from sea degree to 300 m (1000 ft) altitude, in areas with a median yearly rainfall of 1,200–1,800 mm (47–71 in).[19]

It usually grows with timber resembling white booyong (Argyrodendron trifoliolatum), Flindersia species, large stinging tree (Dendrocnide excelsa), lacebark (Brachychiton discolor), purple cedar (Toona ciliata), hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), green-leaved fig (Ficus watkinsiana) and Cryptocarya obovata.[18] The soils it grows on are excessive in vitamins and embody Bumbo Latite and Budgong Sandstone.[19] As rainforests had been cleared, remoted specimens had been left standing in fields as remnant timber,[20] valued for his or her shade and shelter for livestock.[21] One such tree was a landmark for and gave its identify to the Wollongong suburb of Figtree in New South Wales.[20]


The large numbers of fruit produced by the Moreton Bay fig make it a key supply of meals within the rainforest.[21] It is a vital meals to the inexperienced catbird (Ailuroedus crassirostris),[22] in addition to fruit-eating pigeons such because the wompoo fruit-dove (Ptilinopus magnificus), and topknot pigeon (Lopholaimus antarcticus), and a someday meals of the rose-crowned fruit-dove (Ptilinopus regina).[23] Different chicken species that eat the fruit embody the yellow-eyed cuckoo-shrike (Coracina lineata), pied currawong (Strepera graculina), Australasian figbird (Sphecotheres vieilloti), Regent bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus), satin bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus), and Lewin’s honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii).[6]Fruit bats such because the grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) additionally feed on the fruit.[24] In addition to the pollinating fig wasp, Pleistodontes froggatti, syconia of the Moreton Bay fig are host to a number of species of non-pollinating chalcidoid wasps together with Sycoscapter australis (Pteromalidae), Eukobelea hallami (Sycophaginae), and Meselatus sp. (Epichrysomallinae).[25] The nematode species Schistonchus macrophylla and Schistonchus altermacrophylla are discovered within the syconia, the place they parasitise P. froggattii.[26]

The thrips species Gynaikothrips australis feeds on the underside of latest leaves of F. macrophylla, in addition to these of F. rubiginosa and F. obliqua. As plant cells die, close by cells are induced into forming meristem tissue and a gall outcomes and the leaves turn out to be distorted and curl over.[27] The thrips start feeding when the tree has flushes of latest development, and the life cycle is round six weeks. At different instances, thrips reside on outdated leaves with out feeding. The species pupates sheltered within the bark. The thrips stay within the galls at night time and wander about within the daytime and return within the night, presumably to totally different galls concerning the tree.[28]

Harassed timber can be attacked by psyllids to the purpose of defoliation. Grubs hatch from eggs laid on the sides of leaves and burrow into the leaf to suck vitamins, the tree’s latex shielding the insect.[19] Caterpillars of the moth species Lactura caminaea (Lacturidae) can strip timber of their leaves.[19] The tree can be a bunch for the longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae) species Agrianome spinicollis.[19] The fungal pathogen brown root rot (Phellinus noxius) has contaminated and killed this species.[29]

Replica and life span[edit]

Figs have an obligate mutualism with fig wasps (Agaonidae); figs are pollinated solely by fig wasps, and fig wasps can reproduce solely in fig flowers. Typically, every fig species will depend on a single species of wasp for pollination. The wasps are equally depending on their fig species to breed. The mainland and Lord Howe populations of the Moreton Bay fig are each pollinated by Pleistodontes froggatti.[4][30]

As is the case with all figs, the fruit is an inverted inflorescence referred to as a syconium, with tiny flowers arising from the internal floor.[16]Ficus macrophylla is monoecious—each female and male flowers are discovered on the identical plant, and, the truth is, in the identical fruit, though they mature at totally different instances. Feminine wasps enter the syconium and lay eggs within the feminine flowers as they mature. These eggs later hatch and the progeny mate. The females of the brand new era gather pollen from the male flowers, which have matured by this level, and depart to go to different syconia and repeat the method. A area research in Brisbane discovered that F. macrophylla timber usually bore each female and male syconia on the identical time—which might be helpful for copy in small, remoted populations resembling these on islands. The identical research discovered that male part syconia improvement endured by the winter, exhibiting that its wasp pollinator tolerated cooler climate than these of extra tropical fig species. F. macrophylla itself can endure cooler climates than different fig species.[31] Moreton Bay fig timber reside for over 100 years within the wild.[19]

Probably invasive species[edit]

A younger Moreton Bay fig begins life as an epiphyte in an Auckland, New Zealand park

Ficus macrophylla is often cultivated in Hawaii and northern New Zealand. In each locations, it has now naturalised, having acquired its pollinating wasp (Pleistodontes froggatti). In Hawaii, the wasp was intentionally launched in 1921, and in New Zealand it was first recorded in 1993, having arrived by long-distance dispersal from Australia. The arrival of the wasp led to prolific manufacturing of fruits containing many small seeds tailored for dispersal by birds. The Moreton Bay fig has been discovered rising on each native and launched timber in New Zealand and Hawaii. The scale and vigour of this fig in New Zealand, and its lack of pure enemies, in addition to its immunity to possum looking, point out that it could possibly invade forest and different native plant communities.[14][32] Occasional backyard escapees have been recorded in Turkey.[33]

The Moreton Bay fig has been broadly utilized in public parks in frost-free areas, and was common with early settlers of Australia.[15] Across the starting of the 20th century, the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Joseph Maiden, advocated the planting of road timber, usually uniform rows of the one species. He beneficial Moreton Bay figs be spaced at 30 m (100 ft) intervals—far sufficient to keep away from crowding because the timber matured, however shut sufficient in order that their branches would ultimately interlock.[34] Specimens can attain huge proportions, and have thrived in drier climates; spectacular specimen timber have been grown within the Waring Gardens in Deniliquin, and Hay.[35] They will stand up to gentle frosts and may address salt-laden spray in coastal conditions, and their fruit is useful for city wildlife. Nonetheless, their big measurement precludes use in all however the largest gardens, and their roots are extremely invasive and may harm piping and disrupt footpaths and roadways; the huge portions of crushed fruit might be messy on the bottom.[21] The figs are edible however unpalatable and dry.[6]

Particularly because of their tendency for root buttressing, they’re continuously seen as bonsai, though they’re much extra suited to bigger kinds as their massive leaves don’t cut back a lot in measurement and their stems have lengthy intervals (internodal areas) between successive leaves.[36] It may be used as an indoor plant in medium to brightly lit indoor areas.[37] The comfortable gentle timber has a wavy texture and is used for instances.[6] Aboriginal individuals historically used the fibres for fishing nets.[6]

Notable specimens[edit]

Massive specimens of Moreton Bay fig timber are discovered in lots of parks and properties all through japanese and northeastern Australia. The Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney botanical gardens include quite a few specimens planted in the midst of the 19th century. These timber are as much as 35 metres (115 ft) tall.[21] At Mount Keira, close to Wollongong there’s a Moreton Bay fig measured at 58 metres (190 ft) tall.[38] A notable tree within the Sydney suburb of Randwick, the 150-year-old “Tree of Data”, was controversially reduce down in 2016 to make manner for the CBD and South East Mild Rail.[39] There are numerous massive specimens in New Zealand. A Moreton Bay fig at Pahi on the Kaipara Harbour, Northland, was measured in 1984 as 26.5 metres (87 ft) excessive and 48.5 metres (159 ft) extensive, and in 2011 had a girth of 14.Eight metres (49 ft).[40]

The massive trunk of the Ficus macrophylla and a bicycle (offering scale).

The Moreton Bay fig was launched into cultivation into California in the USA within the 1870s, 13 specimens being categorised as Distinctive Bushes of Los Angeles in 1980.[41] The tallest Ficus macrophylla in North America is adjoining to San Diego’s Pure Historical past Museum and was planted in 1914. By 1996 it stood 23.7 metres (78 ft) excessive and 37.Four metres (123 ft) throughout.[42] The widest Moreton Bay fig in North America is Santa Barbara’s Moreton Bay Fig Tree. It was planted in 1876, reportedly by a younger woman who was given a seedling by an Australian sailor.[43] It measures 175 ft (53 m) throughout.[44] The Aoyama Tree stands between the Japanese American Nationwide Museum and the Non permanent Up to date in downtown Los Angeles. It was planted by Buddhist Japanese Individuals within the early 20th century.[45]

Two South African specimens, within the Arderne Gardens in Claremont and the Pretoria Zoo respectively, have the widest and second-widest canopies of any single-stemmed timber within the nation. The Pretoria specimen was planted earlier than 1899, and was 27 metres (89 ft) tall with a cover width of 43.1 metres (141 ft) by 2012.[46][47] There’s a notable specimen sprawling on steps on the Botanical Backyard of the College of Coimbra, Portugal.[48]Ficus macrophylla has been utilized in public areas in Palermo in Sicily, with spectacular specimens discovered within the Orto Botanico, the gardens of the Villa Garibaldi, Giardino Inglese, and in some squares.[49]

See additionally[edit]


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