Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Ficus rubiginosa
Desf. ex Vent., Moraceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 7 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: Illawarra fig, larger small-leaf fig, littleleaf fig, Port Jackson fig, rusty fig, small-leaf fig

Habit:  tree

Description:  "The trees reach a large size; two in south Florida have trunks 75 cm in diameter and are up to 12 m high, with aerial roots clasping the lower parts of the trunk. Buttresses are sometimes present, but not conspicuous. The bark is dark gray, fairly smooth, but somewhat roughened by narrow, broken rings of a lighter gray than the bark itself; also, by longitudinal creases. The young twigs are scurfy-pubescent, short-jointed, and often angular or somewhat flattened. The terminal dormant buds are 2.5 to 5 cm long, densely rusty-pubescent, colored reddish brown. The stipules are up to 12.6 cm long, one longer than the other, lanceolate, scarious on margins, glabrous within, but pubescent on the outer side. The alternate, equilateral leaves are 7.5 to 17.2 cm long and up to 6.2 cm broad, oval, with the apex bluntly obtuse and the base broad and rounded. Venation is indistinct in some leaves but fairly prominent in others, the veins below very slightly elevated or almost flush with the surface, with 1 or 2 basal pairs plus 8 to 12 laterals. The texture is coriaceous, the margins entire, the surface prominently rubiginous above and below when young, the upper surface becoming more or less smooth and glabrous with age. The petioles are up to 4.3 cm long, sparsely pubescent at first, rusty at maturity, slightly flattened above but hardly at all grooved. The trees commonly bear the axillary, geminate fruits profusely, those on different trees varying considerably in size, shape, and surface characters. The peduncles are 0.2 to 0.8 cm long, angular, thick, and clublike, enlarged or swollen toward the apex, and densely pubescent. Sizes vary from 1.1 to 1.5 cm in diameter, shapes from globular to oblate-spherical or slightly oblong, and color from green or rusty to yellowish. The surface also varies, from rusty-pubescent or scurfy to almost smooth, with prominent, greenish or white flecks loosely scattered, these often somewhat raised or pebbly. The bracts are very early deciduous. The umbilicus is small, flush with the apex or very slightly protruding and nipple-like, with indistinct, reddish-brown scales. The interior is white" (Condit, 1969; pp. 167-170).

Habitat/ecology:  Moist forests and open areas. Recently naturalized in New Zealand, occupying rock walls, rocky outcrops and tree trunks.  "Tolerates damp to dry, full shade, all soil types, and hot to moderately warm temperatures"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).

Propagation:  Seed (needs a species-specific specialized pollinating wasp, Pleistodontes imperialis Saund.).  "Birds spread seed from gardens, parks, forests, and rocky areas"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).

Native range:  Australia (New South Wales, Queensland); also cultivated (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1929) (voucher ID: BISH 161372)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus rubiginosa Desf. ex Vent.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R. (1997) (p. 78)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank (2008) (p. 30)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer & K. R. Wood H80628 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L. (2003) (p. 15)
West Maui. Voucher cited: Oppenheimer, P. Bily, J. Lau & L. Durand H40103 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Nagata, Kenneth M. (1995) (p. 12)
Voucher cited: Nagata 3946 (BISH, HLA)
Pollinating wasps introduced and now naturalizing.
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 55)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. (1999) (p. 101)
Not seen on this survey and may no longer be present.
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Wake Islands
Wake Island introduced
cultivated
Fosberg, F. R. (1959) (p. 12)
? Voucher cited: Fosberg 34467
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Wake Islands
Wake Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, M.-H. (1969) (p. 8)
Not seen in 1961 or 1963.
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales native
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland native
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 843)
"Waste places".

Control: 

Physical:  "Pull out small plants (all year round). Leave on site to rot down.

Chemical1. Cut down and paint stump (all year round): metsulferon-methyl 600g/kg (2g/L). Leave on site to rot down.  Can use on trunks and on aerial roots. 2. Bore and fill (all year round): Make 1 hole every 100 mm around the trunk and aerial roots and put  metsulferon-methyl 600g/kg (2g) into each hole"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 29 APR 2013.