Characteristics of Rubber Fig Tree (Ficus elastica) in the Wild

Ficus elastica
Rubber Fig or Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) is a species of tree that belongs to the genus Ficus, native to northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Then brought to Sri Lanka, West Indies, and the State of Florida.

In various regions in Indonesia, this tree is known as Karet Kebo (Java), Karet Merah, Bak Rambong (Aceh), and Batang Kaja (West Sumatra). The tree is often planted as an ornamental plant as well as a protective plant. The shape of a fig tree with broad leaves and has a long life (perennial) with a height of 25-30 meters.

Apart from being an ornamental plant, this tree also has medicinal benefits such as:

  • Roots – Used to treat ulcers, rheumatism, and joint pain.
  • Leaf – Used to help treat stroke.

Several varieties have long been traded as ornamental plants, such as those with yellowish-green leaves, yellow-patterned green, and white-patterned green.


Characteristics of Rubber Fig Leaf

Ficus elastica Leaf
Source: Ng

The leaves are 10-35 cm long and 5-15 cm wide, the largest leaf size is found in young plants (sometimes up to 45 cm in length and these are commonly grown as indoor ornamental plants. Old trees are usually less than 15 cm in size.


Characteristics of Rubber Fig Fruit

Ficus elastica Fruit
Source: Jeppesen

Like other members of the genus Ficus, the fruit is small greenish-yellow, oval, and 1 cm in diameter. The fruit contains fertile seeds which, if they lay on damp soil, will germinate rapidly.


Characteristics of Rubber Fig Tree

Ficus elastica Tree
Source: Ng

Rubber figs can grow as high as 30 meters in the wild, with a trunk diameter of up to 2 meters. Mature trees have aerial roots and hanging roots that support the entire weight of the tree and help meet the nutritional requirements for their thick, large, wide foliage.


This tree is very easy to cultivate, it can be propagated by shoot cuttings, stem cuttings, or grafts. It is so easy to grow, a leaf dipped in water at the base will pull out roots and grow.


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