Ajuntament de Barcelona

Ficus cyathistipula

Hortes de Sant Bertran and Forestier's stairs

    Catalan name: 
    Figuera africana
    Spanish name: 
    Higuera africana
    English name: 
    African fig tree
    Species characteristics
    Family: 
    Moraceae
    Origin: 
    Zambia and Malawi
    Habitat: 
    Tropical rainforest
    Characteristics: 

    Perennial tree 4-5 m tall, with a thin trunk, numerous blanches and dark flaky bark.

    The dark green leaves, about 20 cm long and 4-7 cm wide, are smooth and leathery. They have entire margin and not very marked nervation, with 5-8 lateral nerves. Its shape varies from ovoid to oblanceolate (like a reversed spearhead), with obtuse apex, which is finished off by a small tip (up to 0.8 cm long) and narrowing to the rounded base. Spirally arranged, they have a petiole 1.5-4 cm long and persistent stipules (small leaves at the leaf's source spot).

    The tiny flowers are not visible, because they are inside a fleshy fig-shaped receptacle.

    The fruits are globose syconia (fleshy receptacles that preserve the real fruits) 3-5 cm in diameter with slightly rough whitish to greenish yellow skin. They are axillary, with peduncles up to 2.5 cm, and solitary or, occasionally, into groups of up to three specimens.

    Uses and properties: 

    Grown with decoration purposes.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name of the African fig tree, Ficus cyathistipula, consists of the genus name Ficus, from the Latin ficus, “figa”, and the Latin term cyathistipula, coming from cyathus, “glass” (from the Greek κύαθος, with the same meaning), in reference to being wider in the peak than at its base, and stipula, “stipule”, in allusion to the persistent stipules.