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Ficus abutilifolia (Miquel) Miquel 1867

Large-leaved Rock Fig

(Life; Embryophyta (plants); Angiospermae (flowering plants); Eudicotyledons; Order: Rosales; Family: Moraceae; Genus: Ficus; Subgenus: Urostigma; Section: Galoglychia; Subsection: Platyphyllae)

South Africa (Kwazulu-Natal)  
Ficus abutilifolia Ficus_abutilifolia


Philocaenus rotundus ovipositing inside a split open B-phase fig of Ficus abutilifolia.





Two disjunct populations: a northern one extending from Somali to Guinea and a southern one: NE South Africa, Zimbabwe, E Botswana, W Mozambique, Malawi, E Zambia, SE Democratic Republic of Congo & SW Tanzania.


Pollinators: Nigeriella fusciceps Wiebes (northern population); Elisabethiella comptoni Wiebes (southern population).

Non-pollinator: Philocaenus rotundus.


Ficus abutilifolia as currently defined probably constitutes two good species - one comprising the northern population and the other the southern population. Botanically the two populations are morphologically distinct (Berg 1992). Gene flow is delimited both geographically and ecologically, since each population has a distinct species of pollinating fig wasp.


Savanna woodland or bushveld, usually on rocks (granite, basalt, sandstone, ironstone) up to an altitude of 1000m. Favours hotter, low lying areas, not able to tolerate heavy frost.


Birds, bats, monkeys, baboons, bushpig, warthog and antelope such as bushbuck, nyala, duiker and klipspringer feed on the ripe figs facilitating seed dispersal.


Can be propogated from seeds or cuttings. Suitable species for bonsai.


The species name abutilifolia means "leaves like abutilon" because of the resemblance of its leaves to those of a popular ornamental genus Abutilon (Burrows & Burrows, 2003).


Berg, C.C. 1988. New taxa and combinations in Ficus (Moraceae) in Africa. Kew Bulletin 43: 77- 97.

Berg, C.C. 1989. Moraceae. In: R.M. Polhill (ed.) Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Berg, C.C. 1990. Distribution of African taxa of Ficus (Moraccae). [Proc. 12th AETFAT]. Mitt. inst. Allg. Bot. Hamburg 23: 401-405.

Berg, C.C. 1990. Annotated check-list of the Ficus species of the African floristic region, with special reference and a key to the taxa of southern Africa. Kirkia, 13: 253-291.

Berg, C.C. 1991. Moraceae. In: E. Launert & G.Y. Pope (eds) Flora Zambesiaca 9, 6. Natural History Museum, London.

Berg, C.C. & Hijman, M.E.E. 1989. Chapter 11. Ficus. Flora of Tropical East Africa (ed. R.M. Polhill). 43-86. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Berg, C.C., Hijman, M.E.E. & Weerdenburg, J.C.A. 1984. Moracées (incl. Cécropiacées). Flore du Gabon 26: 1276.

Berg, C.C., Hijman, M.E.E. & Weerdenburg, J.C.A. 1985. Moracées (incl. Cécropiacées). Flore du Cameroun 28: 1298.

Berg, C.C. & Wiebes, J.T. 1992. African fig trees and fig wasps. Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen. Amsterdam, 1-298 pp.

Bouček Z., A. Watsham & J.T. Wiebes, 1981. The fig wasp fauna of the receptacles of Ficus thonningii (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea). Tijdschrift Voor Entomologie, 124(5): 149-233.

Burrows, J. & Burrows, S. 2003. Figs of southern & south-central Africa. Umdaus Press, Hatfield. 379 pp.


Photographs and distribution map © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).

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Ficus bivalvata Perrier

Web authors Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)

and Jean-Yves Rasplus (INRA, France)

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