Alphabetical Plant Listing

Ficus citrifolia (Shortleaf Fig)

Wild Banyantree, Wild Banyan Tree, Shortleaf Fig, Ficus brevifolia, Ficus laevigata


Ficus citrifolia (Shortleaf Fig) is a massive semi-evergreen tree with an attractive spreading canopy providing pleasant shade. Usually starting out as an epiphyte (growing on another tree), until its roots touch the ground, it encircles its host with large aerial roots, eventually becoming a free-standing tree in its own right. The alternate leaves, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm), are round with sharply pointed tips, thick, shiny dark green above, paler green beneath. This Fig tree is semi-deciduous in that there are up to three flowering and fruiting seasons a year, and many leaves are shed before the new growth begins. Blooming from spring to late summer, inconspicuous enclosed flowers are pollinated by a host-specific wasp inside the fig. They are followed by round, fleshy figs, sweet to the taste, turning from yellow to purple when ripe. A single tree may produce up to 1,000,000 fruits. Birds and other wildlife consume the figs. Native to Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America south to Paraguay, Shortleaf Fig provides habitat, food and shelter for a host of tropical lifeforms including birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. This is a large specimen tree or shade tree which is not recommended for small landscapes. Undemanding, Shortleaf Fig requires less maintenance to control its aggressive aerial and surface roots than the other members of this genus. The milky sap (latex) of this tree has been used as a source of chewing gum.

  • Grows up to 40-50 ft. tall (12-15 m).
  • Performs best in full sun in alkaline, clay to sandy, moist to occasionally wet soils. Tolerates partial shade but optimal growth occurs in full sun. This fig tree does not tolerate flooding by salty or brackish water, nor does it tolerate salt spray. Drought tolerant once established
  • No serious disease issues. The milky sap produced by these plants can cause a skin rash or irritation.
  • Thin the tree regularly to minimize damage from storms.
  • Propagated by seed.
  • Native to Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America south to Paraguay.

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Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 11
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Ficus
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' – 50' (12m – 15m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Florida
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies

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David Byron Keener, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 11
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Ficus
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' – 50' (12m – 15m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Florida
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies

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