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DescriptionMonoecious or dioecious, trees, shrubs, lianes or epiphytes. Latex milky, rarely watery. Stipules fully or partly amplexicaul or lateral. Leaves almost always alternate, rarely subopposite or subwhorled; lamina with glandular spots in the axils of at least the basal lateral veins beneath or at the base of the midrib beneath. Figs solitary or in pairs, occurring in the leaf axils, or on short spurs on the lesser branches or on leafless branches on the older wood and trunk. Figs composed of an urceolate receptacle with an apical opening (ostiole), the flowers enclosed within. Male flowers: perianth segments 2-6; stamens 1-3. Female flowers: perianth segments 2-6(-7), stigmas 1 or 2. Fruits achene-like or more often ± drupaceous; at the fruiting stage the fig wall becomes ± fleshy.
Although most species start as epiphytes or lithophytes, trees can only mature when rooted into nutrient rich soil. Such soils occur in riverine alluvium, termite mounds, and crumbling buildings. Pollination is brought about by symbiotic wasps (Family Agaonidae). The wasps are species specific to their host trees. While figs are produced predominantly in the growing season (Sep-Mar) they may be found at any time of the year, a necessary condition in order to maintain the wasp populations. Individual fig trees bear figs either irregularly or at periods of more or less than twelve months.