White sandpaper fig
Ficus fraseri, Fam. Moraceae
Mostly a small tree to about 10m, semi-deciduous to deciduous with grey brown bark, smooth except for horizontal scars and numerous lenticels, often with roughly circular blotches of lichen. Sap is watery to slightly milky. Young stems are rough to the touch but not hairy.
|Form or habit:||Small tree|
Simple, alternate, rarely opposite, entire, obovate to elliptic. Juvenile leaves often lobed. Apex rounded or shortly pointed, base not usually asymmetrical, 5-14cm long. Sandpapery on both surfaces but otherwise glabrous. Six to eight pairs of lateral veins. Petiole long and grooved on the upper side, 0.5-2cm long. Stipules 3-8mm long.
|Flower description:||Dioecious and enclosed inside fleshy, hollow receptacles.|
Orange, Yellow, Red
|Fruit description:||Figs, paired in leaf axils, ovoid, ellipsoid or globular, 1.2-1.6cm long. Yellow becoming orange red when ripe. Rough but glabrous. Basal bracts form a small collar at the top of the peduncle. Edible. Any month of the year.|
|Habitat:||Gallery (riverine or riparian) forest, rainforest.|
|Distribution||Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Melanesia.|
|Food source for:||Fruit eaten by the spectacled and grey headed flying foxes, brown cuckoo dove, rose crown and wompoo fruit doves, topknot pigeon, double eyed fig parrot, common koel, Lewin’s honeyeater, barred and black faced cuckoo shrikes, cicadabird, figbird, olive backed oriole, pied currawong, green and spotted catbirds and the regent and stain bowerbirds. Larval food plant of the common crow and purple moonbeam butterflies and of the moths Agrioglypta exelsalis and Phycomorpha prasinochroa (fig fruit borer)|
|Toxicity:||No toxicity known|
|Notes:||Prefers well composted loam, hardy and grows rapidly. Grows readily from seed or cuttings. Fruit edible but somewhat tasteless. Sandpapery leaves were used by Aborigines to smooth wooden implements. Timber light, soft, porous and pale brown.|
|Information sources:||Melzer R. & Plumb J. (2007) Plants of Capricornia.|