Ficus ingens

Botanical Name: Ficus ingens

Common Name: Red-leafed Rock Fig, Mupata, Chilembalemba, Muteba .

Plant Family: Moraceae (Fig Family)         

Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution: Small to large free-standing deciduous tree with a ribbed trunk and a rounded or spreading crown occurring in a wide variety of woodland and wooded grassland habitats, except in the west. Frequently on rocky hills, as rock splitter, and in gorges, riversides and termite mounds. On rock faces it can become espaliered with its branches clinging to the rocks.  

Size: Height up to 14m, spread up to 30m.

Bark: Grey-brown, smooth with lenticels (pores) in horizontal lines. Produces copious white latex if damaged.

Leaves: Simple, alternate, ovate, to oblong- lanceolate, 5 to 17cm, shiny dark green above, paler below, hairless. Basal pair of lateral veins distinct, apex rounded or tapering, margin entire flat or slightly wavy, new leaves distinctively bronze-red. Petiole short.

Flowers: Monoecious. July-August and December-January. Flowering parts are internal to fruit.

Fruit: Borne 1 or 2 on leaf axils, or apparently clustered on branches, with stalks, round, 1 to 1.5cm, yellow, velvety, purple when ripe, June to December.

Uses: The fruit are eaten by humans and favoured by fruit eating birds, bats and relished by monkeys. The latex is used as a disinfectant and as a glue.