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.


Please scroll to the bottom for more images.
Short-leaf fig, Wild banyan tree
Ficus citrifolia

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

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. 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 from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte 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. 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.

References: Hammer 2004

Comments: Sometimes produces aerial roots, but much less frequently than strangler fig (Ficus aurea).

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Michelle M. Smith, 2018
In habitat, Ned Glenn Nature Preserve, Florida

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Don & Joyce Gann

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Alex Seasholtz, 2020
In habitat, SOCSOUTH, Miami-Dade County, Florida

Other data on Ficus citrifolia available from:

Resources Links:
Find Native Plants!

Acknowledgements and past sponsors

Become a sponsor!

Major Sponsor:

Emergent Sponsors:

Canopy Sponsors:
Herbaceous Sponsors:

Jay Bird - @BotanizingBirdingButterflies

Florida Native Plant Nursery