Ficus macrophylla (MORACEAE) Moreton Bay Fig

Plants to Plant

Moreton Bay Fig is a strangler fig with huge trunk, widely buttressed, growing to 50 metres in subtropical, littoral and dry rainforests and riverine scrub. Endemic Australian species, ranging from Shoalhaven River, NSW to Rockingham Bay, North Queensland. Leaves are simple, alternate, blade leathery, hairless and smooth; glossy dark green above, brownish below, 10-23 cm long. The brown colouring on the under side of the leaf is a diagnostic feature. It is the only local fig with this colouring.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Habit

This Moreton Bay Fig is in the grounds of Payne Road State School at The Gap. It is on the bank of Enoggera Creek. The photo shows the classic spreading form and buttress trunk of a Moreton Bay Fig. Leaves are ovate-elliptical or oblong-elliptical, shortly drawn to a blunt point at the apex. Fruit is fig, orange to purple with creamy white dots; globular, up to 2.5 cm in diameter. Ripe over several months of the year. Attracts birds and fruit-bats. Aborigines ate the sweet fruit and used the bark to make string.
Photo: Anne Jones

Early Brisbane

This watercolour by Henry Boucher Bowerman shows Brisbane in 1835 with a Moreton Bay Fig in the left foreground. The fig is still standing next to the Gallery of Modern Art.
Image: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 3944-1v000r001