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Short-leaf fig, Wild banyan tree
Ficus citrifolia
Moraceae


General Landscape Uses:

Specimen tree in residential and commercial landscapes.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

An important large canopy tree in hammocks in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Rarer elsewhere.
Availability:
Native plant nurseries.
Description:
Medium to large tree with an erect trunk and a spreading, rounded crown. Trunks single or, rarely, multiple to more than 2 feet in diameter. Branches drooping. Bark light gray. Leaves tropical semi-deciduous, light green, about 2-5 inches long.
Dimensions:
Typically 30-40 feet in height; to 71 feet in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.
Growth Rate:
Moderate to fast.
Range:
Monroe County Keys north to Brevard and Collier counties; disjunct in Hillsborough County; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America. Rare and sporadic north of Miami-Dade and Collier counties.
Habitats:
Hammocks.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained limestone (rarely sandy) soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
N/A; flowers are borne inside of figs.
Flower Characteristics:
Inconspicuous.
Flowering Season:
All year; peak spring-summer.
Fruit:
Figs turning pinkish-red to purple when ripe.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides food and cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for ruddy daggerwing (Marpesia petreus) butterflies, Edwards' wasp (Lymire edwardsii) and fig sphinx (Pachylia ficus) moths. Cedar waxwings and other birds eat the fruits. It is pollinated by a host-specific wasp (Pegascapus assuetis).
Horticultural Notes:
Easily grown from seed. Smash figs on paper, let dry and then brush the small seeds onto the soil in a container. Do not cover seeds with soil. Start in light shade or full sun.
Comments:
Sometimes produces aerial roots, but much less frequently than strangler fig (Ficus aurea).


 


Roger L. Hammer
Keith A. Bradley
Don & Joyce Gann
Roger L. Hammer
Shirley Denton