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Ficus maxima - Ficus


Native to:



Central America, the Caribbean, northern and central South America.

Along streams and in seasonally dry areas. Up to 2100 meters above sea level. 15 meter tall tree.

Ficus maxima - Ficus

Ecological value:

Fruit and leaves provide as food source for variety of birds and mammals. Fig trees rely on a specialized species of wasp for pollination. Produces three types of flowers.

Material uses:

Fiber in the bark is used to make mats and cloth. The latex is used to create cal, an abode cement. Bark used as firewood.

Edible uses:

Flowers are cooked and eaten as a form of vegetable and fruit. Ficus spp are keystone species in tropical ecosystems and is a food source to a myriad of wildlife.

Medicinal use:

Latex is used to treat rheumatism in the back. The leaves are used to treat snakebites, internal inflammations, gingivitis, intestinal parasites.

Other details:

The female lays her eggs in the short female flower whilst pollinating the longer, female flower. The wingless male wasps emerge, inseminating the emerging females before boring exit tunnels for the winged females who then, in the act of exiting, collect pollen from the male flower.


Jennifer Yaing/Christine Facella


“Ficus Maxima Mill. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 7, 2023.
“Ficus Maxima - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 7, 2023.
‌Uphof. J. C. Th., ‘Dictionary of Economic Plants’, Weinheim, 1959
Image source: Jonathan Amith.

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