Ficus fraseri (MORACEAE) Sandpaper Fig

Plants to Plant

Rarer of the two local sandpaper figs, the other being Ficus coronata. Small to medium tree with a sparse, spreading crown of rough leaves. Bird attracting bright orange-red fruit which ripens late summer. The leaves are dark green, 6-13 cm long, mainly alternate, symmetrical at the base and very rough upper surface but not hairy below.
Photo: Robert Whyte


The fig fruits are rounded and hairless, 1-1.5 cm wide, changing in colour from yellow to red, then black when fully ripe. The Australasian Fig Birds Sphecotheres vieilloti usually eat them before they fully mature. The fruit, or the exudate of insects that live on them, can cause sever itching (urticaria) if they contact bare skin. To determine whether the fig is F. coronata or F. fraseri use the following key:

  • Ficus coronata: Figs densely hairy, lateral bracts on figs prominent, basal bracts falling early; lowest pair of secondary veins not extending up the lamina; base of lamina usually asymmetric.
  • Ficus fraseri: Figs scabrous but not distinctly hairy, lateral bracts absent, basal bracts 3, persistent; lowest pair of secondary veins extending midway up the lamina; base of lamina not asymmetric.
Photo: Robert Whyte