Ficus burkei

Botanical Name: Ficus burkei (Miq.) Miq.

Synonym:                Ficus thonningii (Blume complex C.C. Berg), Ficus rhodesiaca Mildbr. & Burret F. natalensis complex Coates Palgrave 1983

Common Name:     Common Wild Fig

Plant Family:           Moraceae

Origin:                        Africa

References:              Burrows p.165-172, Coates Palgrave p.138, van Wyk 2 p.159, Venter p.70-71. S.A. No. 48 Zimb. No. 57/1


Description:  A medium to large-sized evergreen tree with a spreading growth habit, often with aerial roots. The bark is light grey and generally smooth, becoming rougher with age. Leaves are small (3-12cm), dark green and slightly lighter below. The fruit is a small (5-10mm) green to yellow fig, darkening as it matures.

Features of Particular Interest:

Height and Spread:  10-18m high, 10m spread.

Periods of Interest:

Leaf:  All year round.

Fruiting:  December to August.


Soil and Moisture:  Very soil tolerant, so plant into any suitable site, but keep moist.

Aspect:  Grows well in full sun.

Hardiness:  Moderately frost and drought tolerant.

Maintenance and Pruning:  Fast growing. If planted near buildings the roots will need cutting back periodically.

Propagation:  Dry opened fig and then scatter seed, or lightly cover dry fig.

Problems and Drawbacks:  Do not plant close to buildings, sewer pipes or swimming pools as the roots are highly invasive – as for most indigenous fig species. Because the young figs ooze latex if broken off, do not plant over fish ponds as the latex clogs fish gills.

Use and Associated Planting:  Wonderfully shady tree that attracts masses of birds when in full fruiting. Breaking off leafs or figs releases a strong latex that is used to catch birds.