Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Ficus macrophylla
Desf. ex Pers., Moraceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Evaluate, score: 3 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Ficus magnolioides Borzí

Common name(s): [more details]

English: Australian banyan, black fig, Lord Howe Island banyan, Moreton Bay fig

Habit:  tree

Description:  "The tree normally starts in forests as an epiphyte, ultimately strangling the host tree, although some seedlings may appear on the ground or in the crevices of rocks. The trees gradually reach large proportions, with immense buttresses, trunks up to 8 m or more in circumference, and branches both high and spreading. Aerial roots (if produced) grow mainly from large, framework branches near the ground, and these may produce a few extra trunks or props. The dormant buds are 3.6 to 7.6 cm long, green or slightly rusty, and finely pubescent. The two stipules are up to 15 cm long and 1.8 cm broad at the base when shed, and rusty-pubescent outside. The young twigs are green, glabrous, and generally short-jointed, with the new growth green or slightly rusty. The older twigs are gray; the bark of the larger branches and trunk is gray, dark gray, or nearly black on the very large trees; rough, with small pustules, or somewhat scaly on large trees. The alternate, equilateral leaves are 10.5 to 22.7 cm long and 7.5 to 12.6 cm broad, oblong-oval, the apex obtuse or broadly acuminate, and the base broad and rounded. Venation is not prominent below, with 1 or 2 basal pairs plus 16 to 20 pairs of laterals. The midrib is very light green, or almost white above, sometime tinged with scarlet. On young trees, the leaves are green, but lighter below; on older trees, the undersurface shows a rubiginous scurf which is conspicuous when viewed from below. The texture is coriaceous, the margins entire, and the petioles are very light green, 10.5 to 15 cm long, and slightly flattened above. The fruits are axillary and commonly geminate; the vegetative bud between them is not in evidence until the figs drop. The thick, club-shaped peduncle, 1.1 to 1.5 cm long, is enlarged into a pad at the base of the fruit. The figs are oval to oblong-spherical in shape, 1.1 to 1.8 cm in diameter, commonly somewhat greater in length. The greenish or purple-tinted surface is prominently decorated with large, yellowish-green flecks. It is smooth, or may be very sparsely puberulent. The three basal bracts are broad and obtuse. The small narrow umbilicus protrudes slightly from the rounded apex. The interior is white" (Condit, 1969; pp. 115-117).

Habitat/ecology:  A large tree that can cover a large area, shading out vegetation underneath.

Propagation:  Seed. A species-specific wasp (Pleistodontes froggatti Mayr) is necessary for pollination.

Native range:  Australia (Lord Howe Island, 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
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island native
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 20)
subsp. columnaris (C. Moore) P.S. Green. Vouchers cited: J. Game 69/228 (K), G. Uhe 1316 (K), M.M.J. van Balgooy 1110 (K), P.S. Green 1971 (K), C. Moore 56 (K, MEL).
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island introduced
cultivated
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 20)
"Trees of subsp. macrophylla have been planted on Norfolk Island".
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island cultivated
Sykes, Bill (year unknown)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1929) (voucher ID: BISH 161375)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus macrophylla Desf. ex Pers.
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1990) (voucher ID: BISH 665338)
Taxon name on voucher: Ficus macrophylla Desf. ex Pers.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R. (1997) (p. 78)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Martz, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2002) (p. 21)
Voucher cited: Starr & Martz 000409-4 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Oppenheimer, Hank L./Bartlett, R. T. (2000) (p. 6)
West Maui. Vouchers cited: Oppenheimer H59912 (BISH), Oppenheimer H59919 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Oppenheimer, Hank L. (2006) (p. 12)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H30415 (BISH, PTBG)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 102)
Voucher cited: MacKee 29489
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
cultivated
Sykes, W. R. (1977) (p. 115)
Relic of cultivation.
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Sand Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd (2008) (pp. B-8)
Voucher cited: Starr & Starr 080608-09
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Sand Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2010) (pp. 64-65)
Voucher cited: Starr & Starr 080608-09 (BISH)
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)

Additional information:
Report (PDF format) from US Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Haleakala Field Station, Hawaii "Plants of Hawaii".

Additional online information about Ficus macrophylla is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Ficus macrophylla as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Ficus macrophylla may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Australian Biological Resources Study. 2013. Flora of Australia Online. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.

Australian National Botanic Gardens. 2013. Australian plant common name database. Online resource.

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1929. Voucher specimen #BISH 161375 (Wilder, G.P. 832).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1990. Voucher specimen #BISH 665338 (Sykes, W.R. 467868).

Condit, I. J. 1969. Ficus: the exotic species. University of California.

Fosberg, F. R. 1997. Preliminary checklist of the flowering plants and ferns of the Society Islands. Ed. by David R. Stoddart. U. Cal. Berkeley.

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

Oppenheimer, Hank L. 2006. New Hawai‘i plant records for 2004. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2004-2005. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 88:10-15.

Oppenheimer, Hank L./Bartlett, R. T. 2000. New plant records from Maui, O‘ahu, and the Hawai‘i Islands. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 1999. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 64:1-10.

Orchard, Anthony E., ed. 1994. Flora of Australia. Vol. 49, Oceanic islands 1. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Starr, Forest/Martz, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. 2002. New plant records from the Hawaiian archipelago. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2000. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 69:16-27.

Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd. 2008. Botanical survey of Midway Atoll. Prepared for: United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 27 pp. plus appendices.

Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. 2010. New plant records from the Hawaiian Archipelago. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2008. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 107:61-68.

Sykes, Bill. 0. Bill Sykes, pers. com.

Sykes, W. R. 1977. Kermadec Islands flora: an annotated checklist. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 219, Wellington. 216 pp.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.


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.