Characteristics of Namaqua Fig Tree (Ficus cordata) in the Wild

Ficus cordata
Namaqua Fig or Namaqua Rock Fig (Ficus cordata) is a species of a fig tree that grows in two separate populations in Africa, one in the arid southwest of the continent, and the second in the northern subtropics.

In the wild, the Namaqua Fig is the most prominent tree and is only found growing on cliff faces and rock outcrops. It has a habit of climbing and splitting rocks.

Wonderboom (Ficus salicifolia) is sometimes considered a subspecies of Ficus cordata, namely Ficus cordata subsp. salicifolia (Vahl) CCBerg, but lacks the yellowish sessile figs of Ficus cordata, and ranges far to the east.

 

Characteristics of Namaqua Fig Leaf

Ficus cordata Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/mr_fab

Leaves ovate to linearly ovate, heart-shaped base, about 13-16 × 4-5.5 cm in size, dull green, and leathery. Edges are often wavy on young plants.

 

Characteristics of Namaqua Fig Fruit

Ficus cordata Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/craigpeter

The fruit is stemless, round, about 8 mm in diameter, slightly warty, light green, becoming reddish to reddish-brown when ripe.

 

Characteristics of Namaqua Fig Tree

Ficus cordata Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/tonyrebelo

Namaqua Fig grows often found growing as a 2-5 meter tall shrub or 12-15 meter medium-sized tree, with drooping branches and foliage, a dense, spreading crown. But in some places in its natural habitat, it can reach a height of 35 meters. The stems are often twisted and can reach up to 1 meter in diameter. The bark is pale gray, smooth which, when damaged will release a milky sap.

Namaqua Fig is often harvested from nature as a source of tannins. It is also often traded and grown as an ornamental tree.

 

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