Weekly Series
Nature Weekly
Short Notes on Nature Singapore

23 August 2015 | Fig Trees | Ficus fistulosa | Ficus variegata |

The most common fig tree at Admiralty Park should be the Common Yellow Stem Fig (Ficus fistulosa). It is found in almost every corner of the park. Its identity became obvious when it is in its fruiting season, with the tree trunk and branches packed with bundles of figs. There s another fig tree with similar appearance except for the size of the tree and shape of the leaves --- Common Red-stem Fig (Ficus variegata). For a while, I was confused between the two species when I first saw them in the same park.

When I visited the park this month, I decided to pay special attention to both of them to take some additional pictures for comparison, especially their young plants. As luck would have it, both type of fig trees were fruiting.

Ficus fistulosa
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Ficus variegata
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photo photo This broad-leaved plant on the right that looked like the young Ficus variegata is actually not a fig tree. It is commonly known as Nappy Plant (Claoxylon indicum) from a different family Euphorbiaceae. It has long leaf stalk (petiole) which is similar to that from Ficus variegata. Nappy Plant happened to be common plant in this park.

Generally, figs are good food source for many wild animals, big and small. Besides the 2 fig species shown above, there are several other fig species in the park. Two of the less common are a climber (Ficus recurva) and a tall tree (Ficus hispida). As the fig trees produce abundance of fruit regularly throughout the year, the animals can always be assured of some food source around.

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