Characteristics of Amatillo Tree (Ficus pertusa) in the Wild

Ficus pertusa
Amatillo or Strangler Fig (Ficus pertusa) is a species of fig native to Mexico. The tree grows in warm climates at altitudes up to 1,400 m above sea level, from northwest Mexico to Brazil and also in Jamaica.

The amatillo tree is often found growing on ravines, rocky slopes, and associated with disturbed vegetation in tropical deciduous, semi-deciduous, cypress forests, and pine and oak forests.

In the 16th century, Francisco Hernández de Toledo (a naturalist and court healer for the King of Spain) reported the tree as an antipyretic. This tree is also used by residents as medicine for toothache and breast inflammation in nursing mothers.

In addition to the specific legitimate botanical name, Ficus pertusa, this tree also has many synonymous names noted, these include:

    Ficus arbutifolia Press.
    Ficus cerasifolia Kunth & C.D.Bouché
    Ficus ciliolosa Kunth & C.D. Bouché
    Ficus gardeniifolia Miq.
    Ficus kanukuensis Standl.
    Ficus myrtifolia Link
    Ficus padifolia Kunth
    Ficus peruviana (Miq.) Rossberg
    Ficus radicans Casar.
    Ficus tapajozensis Standl.
    Pharmacosycea laurifolia Miq.
    Pharmacosycea peruviana Miq.
    Urostigma baccatum Liebm.
    Urostigma erythrostictum Miq.
    Urostigma gemum Miq.
    Urostigma lancifolium Miq.
    Urostigma liebmannianum Miq.
    Urostigma pertusum (L.f.) Miq.
    Urostigma schiedeanum Miq.
    Urostigma subtriplinervium (Mart.) Miq.
    Urostigma sulcipes Miq.

Not only are there many synonymous botanical names, but there are also quite a few other names for the Amatillo tree, including: Amesquite de México, Samatito de México, Jagüey hembra de Cuba, Camichín, Higuito, Injerto, Matapalo, and Palo de amate.

 

Characteristics of Amatillo Leaf

Ficus pertusa Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/vshalisko

Leaves elliptic to lanceolate, 5-12 cm long and 2-5 cm wide, tapering to thin at the apex, blunt to pointed at the base, glabrous, smooth, like a chart, and green.

 

Characteristics of Amatillo Fruit

Ficus pertusa Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/vshalisko

The fruit is a berry, about 2 cm in size, green when young and red when ripe.

 

Characteristics of Amatillo Tree

Ficus pertusa Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/erickaceae_98

Amatillo grows as a medium-sized tree or large shrub, reaching sizes up to 30 meters. Growth initially begins as an epiphyte but becomes independent as it matures. Young branches are glabrous and gray to yellowish-brown.

There is no specific use, but the Ficus pertusa tree is grown and cultivated as an ornamental tree in pots or as a bonsai.

 

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