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Ficus coronata (MORACEAE) Creek Sandpaper Fig

Habit

Ficus coronata
Photo: Robert Whyte

Straggly tree to 12 metres, fast growing, along creeks, in rainforest and open country, widespread on coast and tablelands. Grows densely in full sun. An excellent as a pioneer tree and for stream bank stabilisation.

Leaves ovate (egg-shaped) to oblong, to 10 cm long, larger and often lobed on young growth, margins entire or toothed, upper surface strongly scabrous, lower surface often pubescent; petiole bristly.

The leaves were used to polish shields made from Blue Quandong wood.

Fruit and foliage


Ficus Coronata
Photo: Robert Whyte

Fruit are purple, succulent receptacle, densely hairy, sweet and edible but not particularlt tasty. Ripe mainly Summer and Autumn, but also all year.

The fruit are edible raw when fully ripe, but the furry skin can be irritant, and must be peeled off first. Good jam fruit, but fussy to prepare.

Ficus from Latin (fig), coronata referring to bristles at the tip of the fruit.

Aborigines used the milky latex of young shoots to heal wounds. The fruit is eaten by the Fig bird, Green catbird, grey headed fruit bat.

Propagation by seed, cuttings or aerial layers.

Cauliflory


ficus coronata
Photo: Robert Whyte

The Sandpaper fig is cauliflorous, that is, it fruits from the trunk (as well as elsewhere).

One of many host plants for the larvae of the Common Crow (Euploea core).

Fruit and foliage


Ficus coronata
Photo: Robert Whyte

Normally a small tree, some specimens can grow much larger, with a girth of 30cm and a heigh of up to 15 m.

Fruit and undersides of foliage


Ficus coronata
Photo: Robert Whyte

The leaves are strongly veined underneath and are often ravaged by native and introduced fig leaf beetles (Chrysomelids) which can also denude exotic table fig plants in gardens.