Short-leaf fig, Wild banyan tree
Ficus citrifolia
Moraceae


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.
Height:
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. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.
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. It is pollinated by a host-specific wasp (Pegoscapus tonduzi). Cedar waxwings and many other birds eat the fruits. It supports a large community of insects, which provide food for insectivorous birds.
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).


Don & Joyce Gann
Roger L. Hammer
Michelle M. Smith, 2018
In habitat, Ned Glenn Nature Preserve, Florida
Roger L. Hammer
Shirley Denton
Keith A. Bradley