Natives For Your Neighborhood is a labor of love and commitment. If you use this website, help us maintain and grow it with your tax-deductible donation.

Close

Please scroll to the bottom for more images.
Strangler fig, Golden fig
Ficus aurea
Moraceae
 

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Specimen tree in residential and commercial landscapes, where there is adequate room.

Ecological Restoration Notes: An important large canopy tree in hammocks.

Availability: Widely cultivated. Available at All Native Garden Center and Plant Nursery (239-939-9663) and Indian Trails Native Nursery in Lake Worth (561-641-9488).

Description: Large tree with a broadly rounded crown formed from many sturdy branches often arising from near the ground. Prominent aerial roots form secondary trunks. Main trunks large, to 3 feet or more in diameter. Bark usually gray, smooth. Leaves thick and leathery, dark green above and paler beneath, usually 3-5 inches long. Semi-deciduous, the leaves turning over rapidly in the late winter or early spring.

Dimensions: Typically 40-60 feet in height; to 76 feet in South Florida. Often as broad as tall.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Monroe County Keys north to Brevard, Osceola, Polk, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties; West Indies, southern Mexico and Central America. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes north to Indian River and Manatee counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Hammocks; also swamps, where it will grow semi-epiphytically on cypress (Taxodium) or cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto).

Soils: Moist, well-drained to moderately well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer; semi-epiphytic in swamps.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without injury.

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: Red or yellow stalkless figs, soft when ripe. All year.

Wildlife and Ecology: Strangler fig often begins life as an epiphyte, later sending roots down into the ground. It is mostly distributed by birds, which consume the figs. It most often recruits on cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto). It provides significant food and cover for wildlife. It is the larval host plant for ruddy daggerwing (Marpesia petreus) butterflies and fig sphinx (Pachylia ficus) moths. Fig whiteflies feed on the leaves and twigs. It is pollinated by a host-specific wasp (Pegoscapus mexicanus). 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: Unlike some non-native fig trees, strangler fig can withstand high winds and rarely blows over in hurricanes or tropical storms. The roots can be invasive, especially around sources of water such as septic tanks and drainfields. It readily recruits in the garden, especially in cracks in stone surfaces. Unlike its native relative shortleaf fig (Ficus citrifolia), it has abundant aerial roots.


Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Alex P. Seasholtz, 2019
In habitat in Florida City Pineland, Miami-Dade County

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Susan Trammell


Other data on Ficus aurea available from:



 
Resources Links:
Find Native Plants!

Acknowledgements and past sponsors
Become a sponsor!

Major Sponsor:

Emergent Sponsors:

Canopy Sponsors:
 
Herbaceous Sponsors: