Characteristics of Warka Tree (Ficus vasta) in the Wild

Ficus vasta
Warka (Ficus vasta) is a species of fig tree endemic to Ethiopia and Yemen. However, the tree can still be found in Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Ficus vasta grows along rivers forming stands or shrubs. Its natural habitat is dry savanna at an altitude between 1,400 to 2,500 m above sea level.

Unfortunately, Ficus vasta is not cultivated and is slowly becoming difficult to find due to human pressure, especially in its use as firewood.

 

Characteristics of Warka Leaf

Ficus vasta Leaf
Source: flickr.com/Bárbol

The leaves are heart-shaped, about 25 x 20 cm in size, hairy and rough to the touch.

 

Characteristics of Warka Fruit

Ficus vasta Fruit
Source: flickr.com/Muhammad Al Shanfari

The fruit is round, hairy, grows in groups, and is 2 cm in diameter. When ripe it is green with pale green spots.

 

Characteristics of Warka Tree

Ficus vasta Tree
Source: flickr.com/Muhammad Al Shanfari

Ficus vasta can grow into a tree 20-25 meters tall with a large trunk and spreading branches that end in a dome with a diameter of up to 50 meters. The bark is smooth and gray, except for the young branches which are yellow, white, or brown and peel off when dry.

This tree was originally an epiphytic plant or a chasmophyte. When the tree is young, Ficus vasta rides on another tree by grabbing the branches or trunk, and once the roots start to grow will strangle the tree it hosts. In addition to riding on other trees, Ficus vasta can also grow on the sidelines of rocks.

 

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