Ficus subg. Ficus

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Ficus subg. Ficus


— The majority of the species are shrubs or small trees, less often medium-sized trees. Tall trees may become buttressed (as in F. brunneoaurata and F. mollissima). In F. oleifolia, trees can be slender and subscandent. Holo-epiphytes (or -lithophytes) often occur in F. deltoidea, less often in F. oleifolia. In F. ischnopoda and F. pustulata, the plants are more or less often rheophytic.
Shrubs, small to medium-sized (or tall) trees, with white milk sap, (gyno)dioecious. — The leaves are alternate and spirally arranged. There is a slight tendency towards distichous arrangement in some species. The leaves can be subopposite or subverticillate in F. ischnopoda. In this species the stipules are semi-amplexicaul to lateral. This character is linked to the intermittent growth with Terminalia-branching of species of the F. pedunculosa-group. In many species (of sect. Ficus subsect. Ficus and of sect. Eriosycea) the lamina is palmately 3-7-lobed to -fid, only in juvenile plants, but in several species also on fertile branches. In this type of leaves the petioles are relatively long, the basal lateral of the lamina branched, the margin dentate and the texture chartaceous to subcoriaceous. In F. hirta, the incised lamina may be distinctly palmately lobed to fid or it is subpalmately (or subpinnately), as not the basal lateral veins run into the lobes but those of the next pair. In this species, the midsegment can also be (faintly) pinnately lobed. In sect. Ficus subsect. Frutescentiae, there is tendency towards pinnate lobing of the lamina, at least in juvenile plants. In this section, the lamina may also vary to linear-lanceolate, in some cases in relation to the rheophytic life form. Midribs with furcations far below the apex of the lamina are found in F. deltoidea and F. oleifolia. In F. pedunculosa the furcation is close to the apex.
Leaves spirally arranged, sometimes to subdistichous; stipules free, fully amplexicaul, but in F. ischnopoda semi-amplexicaul to lateral. — The inflorescences occur mostly in pairs, only in a few species, as F. ischnopoda and F. pustulata, they are consistently solitary. They are mostly produced in the leaf axils, less often below the leaves, but then only on previous season’s growth. The figs are mostly pedunculate or quite often both pedunculate and sessile in the same species. The receptacle varies from very small (0.5-1 cm diam. when dry) to medium-sized (1-2 cm diam. when dry), with only in some species, F. bruneiensis, F. carica, F. mollissima, and F. padana, the diameter of dry receptacles exceeds 2 cm. The receptacle is often stipitate. In several species or subspecies, such as F. aurata, F. esquiroliana H. Lév., and F. hirta subsp. roxburghii, the receptacle may bear lateral bracts, mostly one or two, sometimes more than two. Internal hairs vary from copious and conspicuous to sparse and minute, or they may even be absent. The colour of mature ‘seed-figs’ is mostly red, less frequently yellow to orange, or in some species, F. deltoidea, F. ischnopoda, and F. oleifolia, purple (to blackish). Mature ‘gall-figs’ usually have paler colours than ‘seed-figs’ and may even remain greenish. In some species, F. glandulifera, F. lamponga, and F. ruficaulis, ‘gall-figs’ dehisce longitudinally and irregularly.
— In F. oleifolia the number of flowers in the ‘seed-figs’ can be reduced to two or even one (thus producing only one seed per syconium!). The staminate flowers often occur near the ostiole, but can also occur dispersed among the pistillate flowers, occasionally or often (as in species of sect. Ficus). Within the subgenus three types of tepals can be distinguished:
  1. pale yellow or pinkish and glabrous or ciliolate (in F. carica);
  2. dark red (in strong contrast with the pale pedicels and ovaries or fruits) and often ciliolate or with some hairs at the apex (in subsect. Frutescentiae and subsect. Eriosycea);
  3. pale yellow with numerous hairs or only a few in the upper part (in subsect. Auratae, but dark red in F. diamantiphylla).

The stigmas have two unequally long filiform to subulate stigmatic branches in the long-styled flowers of sect. Ficus, or are either ± filiform or bifid in sect. Eriosycea, in which short stiff hairs may occur on the pedicel, below the ovaries or stamens, or on the style.
Stamens 1-4.


Asia present, Asia-Temperate: Korea present, Asia-Tropical: Philippines (Philippines present), Asian mainland present, Asian-western Malesia present, From Asia it extends to NE Africa and to mediterranean southern Europe present, From Malesia to New Guinea present, Japan present, Sino-Himalayan region present, from the Andaman Islands to New Guinea present, western Malesia present
The subgenus is Asian-western Malesian. From Malesia to New GuineaIn Malesia, it extends to New Guinea (with F. glandulifera and F. pedunculosa). From Asia it extends to NE Africa and to mediterranean southern EuropeFrom Asia it extends to NE Africa (with F. palmata Forssk.) and to mediterranean southern Europe (with F. carica). The subgenus has two centres, the Sino-Himalayan region (with the F. pedunculosa-group of sect. Frutescentiae) and western Malesia (with the F. deltoidea-group of sect. Frutescentiae and sect. Eriosycea). The clearly Asian subdivisions, subsect. Ficus and the F. pedunculosa-group, comprise species, that extend to warm-temperate zones (in Asia, Korea and Japan). Two species of the latter group, F. ischnopoda and F. pedunculosa, extend to Malesia and two, F. edanoi and F. pustulata, are Malesian and confined to the Philippines. Six species of the Malesian subdivisions extend to the Asian mainland (F. chartacea, F. deltoidea, F. fulva, F. glandulifera, F. lamponga, and F. hirta). Few species have wide ranges, F. glandulifera has the most extensive one, from the Andaman Islands to New Guinea. The subgenus comprises c. 50 species of which 35 occur in Malesia. Two species of this subgenus have been introduced into the Malesian region: F. carica and F. erecta.


Sata 1944: p. 179. – In: Contr. Hort. Inst. Taihoku Imp. Univ.: ‘Caricae’.