Ficus Platyphylla: A Comprehensive Guide

Ficus platyphylla is a tropical tree that is found in rainforests and other moist environments. It has many common names, including the broad-leaved fig, flat-leaf fig, and Malay rubber tree. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to Ficus platyphylla, including general information, botanical references, range and habitat, cultivation details, edible uses, and more!

ficus platyphylla

Plant Specifics

Origins: Ficus platyphylla is native to Central and South America (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia).

It has also been introduced to the West Indies (Jamaica) and Hawaii.

Ecology: Ficus platyphylla is found in a wide variety of habitats, including rainforests, deciduous forests, cloud forests, and riverine forests. It typically occurs at elevations below 1000 m (3300 ft), but can also be found at higher elevations in some areas.

Botanical References: Ficus platyphylla is a member of the Moraceae, or fig, family. The specific epithet, platyphylla, comes from the Greek words ‘platys’ (broad) and ‘phyllon’ (leaf), referring to the plant’s large leaves.

Leaves: The leaves of Ficus platyphylla are large, broad, and oval-shaped. They are typically 20-30 cm (12-18 in) long and 12-20 cm (0.75-11.75 in) wide. The leaf margins are often undulate or wavy.

The upper surface of the leaves is green and glossy, while the lower surface is paler and matte. The leaf venation is conspicuous on both surfaces.

Fruit: The fruit of Ficus platyphylla is a small, fleshy drupe that turns from green to yellow or orange when ripe. Each fruit contains a single seed.

The fruits are borne on short stalks that arise from the leaf axils. They are typically 12-15 mm (0.47-0.59 in) long and 11-13 mm (0.43-0.51 in) wide.

Cultivation: Ficus platyphylla is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 20 m (66 ft). It prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.

The tree is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. It is also drought-tolerant once established.

Ficus platyphylla can be propagated from seeds or cuttings.

Edible Uses: The fruits of Ficus platyphylla are edible raw or cooked. They have a sweet, slightly acidic flavor.

The fruits can be used in a variety of dishes, including jams, jellies, pies, and ice cream.

The leaves can also be cooked and eaten. They have a slightly bitter taste.