Monday, 21 January 2013

Ficus species

Ficus species also known commonly as fig tree is native to the tropics and is from the family Moraceae.

This is a huge tree reaching a height of 18 m and a width of 21meters. The crown is dense, rounded and full of graceful drooping branches. Branches will weep toward the ground forming a canopy so dense that nothing grows beneath it. 

The foliage and branches exude a white, latex-like sap when wounded. The leaves are thick, shiny, growing up to 12cm in length. 

The actual flower of the fig is unseen unless the fruit is cut open. The flower is pollinated by fig wasps that crawl through the opening in search of a suitable place to lay eggs. Without this pollinator service fig trees could not reproduce by seed. In turn, the flowers provide a safe haven and nourishment for the next generation of wasps. This accounts for the frequent presence of wasp larvae in the fruit. 

Technically, a fig fruit proper would be one of the many tiny mature, seed-bearing flowers found inside one fig, the flowers will appear as fleshy "threads", each bearing a single seed inside. Tiny figs eventually turn a deep red. 

The specific identification of many of the species can be difficult, but figs as a group are relatively easy to recognize. Many have aerial roots and a distinctive shape or habit, and their fruits distinguish them from other plants.

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