Ajuntament de Barcelona

Ficus rubiginosa

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Ficus rubiginós
    Spanish name: 
    Higuera de Port Jackson
    English name: 
    Littleleaf fig
    Botanical synonyms: 
    Ficus obliqua var. petiolaris, Ficus platypoda var. petiolaris
    Species characteristics
    Rainy forests, gullies and rocky hills

    Perennial tree 8-10 m tall, although occasionally it can reach 30 m, with straight, short and thick trunk and rounded and very compact dark crown. The bark is grooved and greyish. When the dampness is very high, the trunk can have aerial roots.

    The leaves, 7-15 cm long and 6 cm wide, are alternate and leathery  and have a petiole 1-2.5 cm long, which is covered by tomentum (hairs making a kind of down). They are oval, with rounded base and apex. The upper side is dark green and glabrous (hairless), except the young leaves, and the lower side is reddish and with a dense pubescence.

    The fruits, also covered by a reddish pubescence, are globose syconia (fleshy receptacles that contain the real fruits), 1.5 cm in diameter. Its yellowish green colour becomes red when ripe. They are axillary and appear into pairs.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Commonly used as a shadowing tree or as a decoration one in public parks, squares and street of warm areas, widely used in cities of Southern Spain.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name of the littleleaf fig, Ficus rubiginosa, consists of the genus name Ficus, from the Latin ficus, “fig”, and the term rubiginosa, “of the rust colour”, coming from robigo, “rust”, in allusion to the leaf underside colour. It was described for the first time by the French botanist René Desfontaines (1750-1833).

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996