Ficus Macropulla – Moreton Bay Fig
- Height: 55′ (200′ in wild)
- Spread: 100>
- Planted by: Bixbys, circa 1880
- Family: Moraceae
- Common Names: Australian Banyan
- Botanical Names: Ficus macroarpa, Ficus punctata
Native to the coastal rainforests of Eastern Australia this fig is a spreading, evergreen tree. The dark glossy green leaves are leathery and 6-12” long. The oval figs are 1” or and are a reddish brown to purple when ripe. The trunk is the pale gray typical of ficus but this species exceeds the others in its ability to form a massive buttressing root system. The flowers are formed inside of a structure botanists call a synconia – everybody else calls it the fruit. However the botanists do have a point because how often does the flower occur inside the fruit? The interior of the fleshy capsule is lined with male (pollen bearing) and female (seed bearing) flowers. A female microscopic wasp (Pleistodontes froggatti) enters the synconia through a minute opening or ostiole to lay one egg inside each flower. When the wingless male wasp hatches he searches out the female wasps for mating. When the female has mated she collects and transfers pollen along her way to the exit tunnel created by the male wasp before he dies.
In humid conditions adventitious roots will form along the branches, if there is enough moisture these roots will continue to develop until they touch terra firma and “root” much like the relative the Banyon.