Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Ficus elastica
Roxb. ex Hornem., Moraceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Low risk, score: -5 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Ficus decora hort.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: yin du rong

English: India rubber fig, India rubber tree, Indian rubber tree, karet-tree, rubber plant

French: arbre à caoutchouc, figuier élastique

Maori (Cook Islands): rapa

Marshallese: wõjke-roba

Palauan: komunokí, komunoki

Pohnpeian: rapah, repah

Samoan: tagamimi palagi

Spanish: caucho, cauchú comun, higuiera cauchera

Yapese: gak'iynigoma

Habit:  tree

Description:  "...A wide-spreading evergreen tree to 30 m tall which develops descending aerial roots to form a banyan. All parts contain copious white latex. Plants start from cutting as erect stems but soon develop several heavy spreading branches. Twigs are encircled by distinctive leaf scars and branches have thin smooth to finely rough gray-brown bark. The plants tend to branch at the base, and both trunks and branches develop slender dangling aerial roots, which quickly thicken to become strong downwardly branched supporting roots which may coalesce and eventually hide the original trunk. Spreading surface roots may also be formed. The shiny, leathery, broadly oval leaves are initially enclosed in a long pink papery scale which leaves a circular scar as it falls. The leaves are 7-20 cm long, with smooth edges and blunt pointed tips and are paler below than above. In India, at least, pairs of oblong yellowish-green figs about 2 cm long develop among the leaves on the branches of older trees." (Swarbrick, 1997; p. 35).

Habitat/ecology:  Moist tropical forests. The seeds can germinate in the tree crowns and thence grow downwards, making it extremely difficult to control. In New Caledonia, "introduit au 19ème siècle, peut-être comme arbre à caoutchouc; parfois naturalisé" (MacKee, 1994; p. 102).

Propagation:  Requires a specific wasp for pollination. Where pollination occurs and fruits form, the seeds are spread by birds.

Native range:  India and southern Asia (Swarbrick, 1997; p. 35).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 35)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
cultivated
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (pp. 483, 529, 553)
"Algunos jóvenes individuos están plantados en jardines del pueblo de San Juan Bautista.  El porvenir dirá si pueden acostumbrarse al clima insular".
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
‘Atiu Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 80)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 67)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1982) (voucher ID: BISH 614586)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Sierra Negra, Isabela Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Dublon (Tonowas) Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Dublon (Tonowas) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1935) (voucher ID: BISH 162487)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Weno (Moen) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Denslow, Julie S./Nelson, Duane/Mazawa, Thomas R. (2000) (p. 27)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 54)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   Glassman, S. F. (1952) (p. 80)
Voucher cited: Glassman 2560 (US)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
cultivated
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 114)
Vouchers cited: S.F. Glassman 2560 (BISH), M. Takamatsu 723 (BISH)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1949) (voucher ID: BISH 162331)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1936) (voucher ID: BISH 162478)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
Federated States of Micronesia
Yap Islands
Yap (Waqab) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 54)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1981) (pp. 175-176)
Vouchers cited: DA 11805, DA 5625
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1959) (voucher ID: BISH 14654)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Fatu Hiva Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 157)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Fatu Hiva Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. (2013)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Fatu Hiva Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. (2013)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 157)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Ua Pou (Huapu, Uapou, Uapu) Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. (2013)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Ua Pou (Huapu, Uapou, Uapu) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 157)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 186)
Voucher cited: BRY 26367a
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 157)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 157)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Tubuai Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 157)
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Tubuai Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
cultivated
Stone, Benjamin C. (1970) (p. 251)
Voucher cited: Stone 4913 (GUAM)
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 54)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
cultivated
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R. (2005) (p. 409)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
cultivated
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R. (2005) (p. 409)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
invasive
Toyoda, Takeshi (2003) (p. 279)
Naturalized
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Ailinglaplap (Ailinglapalap) Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 54)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Jaluit (Jãlwõj) Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 54)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. (1999) (p. 101)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro (Mãjro) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy (2003) (p. 110)
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
cultivated
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (p. 172)
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté (Loyalte Islands)
Île Lifou introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 102)
Voucher cited: MacKee 5251
Spontan&233;
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 102)
Vouchers cited: Däniker 2684 (Z), Baumann 6461, MacKee 37666, MacKee 38807
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 23)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 42)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 54)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 80)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1968) (voucher ID: BISH 428462)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island   Beleu National Museum (Republic of Palau. Koror.) (1968) (voucher ID: BNM 534)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica L.
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Malakal (Ngemelachel) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 80)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Ngerkebesang Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 80)
Papua New Guinea
Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago introduced
invasive
Peekel, P. G. [translated by E. E. Henty] (1984) (p. 137)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands introduced
cultivated
Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 51)
Planted for ornamental purposes.
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
Oeno Atoll introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 157)
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
Oeno Atoll introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 10952 (PAP)
Cultivée
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
Oeno Atoll   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1991) (voucher ID: BISH 662491)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 157)
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Savai‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 70)
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Upolu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 66)
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Upolu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1968) (voucher ID: BISH 28830)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands introduced
cultivated
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 74)
Vanuatu
New Hebrides Islands
Êfaté (Efete) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1978) (voucher ID: BISH 424758)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna (Horne) Islands
Wallis (‘Uvea) Island introduced
cultivated
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2007) (p. 36)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
800-1500 m. W. Yunnan
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 61)
Ornamental.
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Java, Sumatra
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Malaya
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 41)
Casual
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Christmas Island Group
Christmas Island introduced
cultivated
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (pp. 35, 114)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  A problem tree in Florida. Planting of this species is prohibited in Miami-Dade County, Florida (U.S.) (Hunsberger, 2001).

Planted trees on Pohnpei (J. Space, pers. com.).

Control: 

Chemical: "Pending the results of field trials stems (recognisable by branches and leaf scars), pendant roots and visible surface roots of smaller and more open trees should all be liberally treated with 10% Garlon 600 in diesel oil. Do not treat Ficus elastica by stem injection or cut stump treatment since the copious emission of latex by cut stems and roots will prevent glyphosate entry." (Swarbrick, 1997; p. 35).


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 4 JUL 2012.