Characteristics of Red-leaf Fig Tree (Ficus ingens) in the Wild

Ficus ingens
Red-leaf Fig (Ficus ingens) is a species of fig tree native to arid regions of Africa and southern Arabia. This tree grows variable depending on the climate and local substrate, usually found as a dwarf shrub on rocky mountain slopes, or as a large tree in lower plains.

The Red-leaf Fig tree is very tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, it can live from dry uplands to humid lowlands. It also tolerates soil mixed with a substrate of a lava flow, sandstone, or dolomite.

Aranya fruit is a favorite food of several local bird species. In northern Nigeria and Kenya, its leaves and fruit have been recorded as food due to famine. In South Africa, a Red-leaf Fig bark mixture mixed with cow’s feed is said to increase milk flow, although the leaves are toxic to cows and sheep.


Characteristics of Red-leaf Fig

Ficus ingens Leaf

The leaves are narrowly oblong, brown or bright red when young, and as they mature, they turn a dull green.

The leaf blade is about 16 cm long and 8 cm wide, the base is heart-shaped, sometimes broad, and has a tapered tip. Old leaves turn a reddish copper color in fall.


Characteristics of Red-leaf Fig Fruit

Ficus ingens Fruit

The fruit is round like a berry, appears at the tips of the branches, is produced all year round, especially in summer. Each fruit is 1-1.2 cm in diameter and appears just below or between clusters of terminal leaves. When young the fruit is white and eventually becomes purple or yellowish-brown when ripe.


Characteristics of Red-leaf Fig Tree

Ficus ingens Tree

Red-leaf figs are deciduous or semi-deciduous trees and can grow to form shrubs or trees 3-20 meters tall. In warm lowlands, the trees can form a canopy of 15 meters wide, with the lowest trunk 2 meters in diameter. Whereas in the highlands of the slopes of the mountains, they usually grow to form dwarf shrubs between the rocks.

Red-leaf fig trees often grow close to the Wonderboom tree (Ficus salicifolia), but of course, their leaf shape is different. Also, Wonderboom grows as a tree shape, not a shrub.

Both are sometimes cultivated as bonsai specimens in several countries of the world.


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