Derivation of specific name
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Ficus altissima
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ficus altissima
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
Ficus altissima is a large, evergreen forest tree with a buttressed trunk and a spreading crown, growing to 30 m (98 ft). The bark is smooth and grey, with small pale brown pustules. The branches are spreading and the twigs are hairy when young. The leaves are alternate, elliptic to ovate, with entire margins and up to 10 by 4 cm (3.9 by 1.6 in). They are supported on short stalks and have sheathing stipules. The flowers are solitary or in pairs and are in the axils of the leaves. They are concealed inside hollow receptacles which grow into orangish-red, many-seeded 2.5 cm (1 in) figs following pollination.
Ficus altissima is native to southeastern Asia and many islands in the Pacific. Its range includes the Andaman Islands, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, South China and the Malesia region. It was first described by the Dutch botanist Carl Ludwig Blume in 1826 from Java. It has become naturalized in some of the southern counties of Florida.
Ficus altissima is a "strangler fig", often starting life as an epiphyte, frequently on a palm tree, sending down roots to the ground which in time grow stout enough to support the growing tree independently. By this time the host tree has been overwhelmed and killed. It can also grow as a lithophyte in a crevice in a rock or a man made structure. It is sometimes planted as a shade tree but has a wide root system and is unsuitably large for most urban areas.
Ficus altissima is one of many trees that hosts lac insects, scale insects in the superfamily Coccoidea, from which the dye lac is obtained. It has been planted in southern Florida, where it didn't used to seed because there weren't any native insects available to pollinate the flowers. However, non-native wasps (Eupristina sp.), that have become established in the area, seems capable of pollinating it and the tree is now proliferating and becoming invasive.
- Wunderlin, R. P.; Hansen, B. F. (2008). "Ficus altissima". Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
- "Ficus altissima Bl.: Moraceae". BIOTIK. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
- "Ficus altissima". TopTropicals. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
- "Council tree". Everglades CISMA. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
- Nadel, Hannah; Frank, J. Howard; Knight, R. J. Jr. (1992). "Escapees and Accomplices: The Naturalization of Exotic Ficus and Their Associated Faunas in Florida". The Florida Entomologist 75 (1): 29–38. JSTOR 3495478.
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