Ficus rubiginosa (MORACEAE) Rock Fig, Port Jackson Fig

Plants to Plant

Ficus obliqua and Ficus platypoda have recently been subsumed by Ficus rubiginosa. A small to large spreading tree, often buttressed; young stems rusty-pubescent commonly scattered in rocky sites on dry hills in open forest or in dry, littoral or rarely subtropical rainforest; coastal areas. Leaves obovate, ovate or elliptic, mostly 7-10 cm long, 5-6 cm wide, rarely to 20 cm long and 10 cm wide; upper surface glabrous, lower surface mostly hairy and rusty-coloured; petiole usually 1-3 cm long; stipules 1.5-3 cm long, finely hairy or rarely glabrous. A valuable plant for wildlife and habitat. Like all figs it requires pollination by a particular wasp species to set seed. This actually occurs fairly readily as fig seedlings are a common site in walls, cracks, crevices and buildings in urban areas of cities. Known as damun (tam-mun) to the local Eora and Darug inhabitants of the Sydney basin. Slow growing, reaching 7-15 metres in height when mature, forming a spreading densely shading tree. May form aerial roots which strike upon reaching to the ground, forming secondary root systems. This process is known as banyaning. It is pollinated by a symbiotic relationship with a wasp species Pleistodontes imperialis. Host plant for Common Crow Euploea core butterflies.
Photo: Robert Whyte