Ficus exasperata Vahl

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Ficus exasperata

Large tree;
Northern Province, Mpulungu; Dec 2006.
Photo: Mike Bingham

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Synonyms: Ficus scabra sensu Sim
Ficus silicea Sim
Common names: Forest sandpaper figtree (English: Zambia)
Frequency: Occasional
Status: Native
Small to medium-sized tree. Stem without aerial roots, sometimes buttressed in very large specimens; bark grey to whitish, smooth, with a watery, sometimes amber-coloured sap. Leaves alternate, stiff and leathery, ovate-elliptic, up to 14 × 7.5 cm, larger and broader in deeply shaded specimens, 3-veined from the base, mid-green above, paler and with conspicuous yellow veining below, very rough to the touch on both surfaces; margin finely and irregularly toothed to entire. Figs singly or in pairs, pedunculate on the wood of last year's bare branches, c. 23 mm in diameter, depressed spherical with the surface rough to the touch, orange-red when ripe.
Type location:
Notes: Separate male and female plants; stipules not completely enclosing the stem apex; figs with bracts on the receptacle as well as basal and osteolar (Subgenus Ficus, Section Sycidium).
Derivation of specific name: exasperata: rough, covered with short hard points
Habitat: Riparian forest.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Oct - Dec
Worldwide distribution: From Senegal to Ethiopia and South to Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and South-eastern Zimbabwe. Extending East as far as India. A few records from north-eastern Zambia.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N
Zambian distribution (Provinces): N
Growth form(s): Tree.
Endemic status:
Red data list status: Lower Risk - least concern
Insects associated with this species: Kradibia gastroi afrum (Pollinated by this insect)
Cyrestis camillus sublineata (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Friday 5 July 2013

Berg, C.C. (1991). Moraceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(6) Pages 47 - 48.

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2003). Figs of Southern and South-Central Africa Umdaus Press, South Africa Pages 47 - 49. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 79. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 27.

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Pages 141 - 142.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 234.

Golding, J.S. (ed.) (2002). Zimbabwe Plant Red Data List. Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. SABONET 14 Page 175.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 63.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 123.

Other sources of information about Ficus exasperata:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Ficus exasperata
Flora of Mozambique: Ficus exasperata
Flora of Zimbabwe: Ficus exasperata

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Ficus exasperata
African Plant Database: Ficus exasperata
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Ficus exasperata
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Ficus exasperata
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Ficus exasperata
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Ficus exasperata
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Ficus exasperata
JSTOR Plant Science: Ficus exasperata
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Ficus exasperata
Plants of the World Online: Ficus exasperata
Tropicos: Ficus exasperata
Wikipedia: Ficus exasperata

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-23

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2023). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Ficus exasperata., retrieved 29 November 2023

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