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Ficus albipila



Botanical Name

Ficus albipila (Miq.) King

King, G. (1888) Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta 1(2): 179. Type: ?.


Ficus albipila (Miq.) King var. albipila, The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 17: 408(1960), Type: ?. Covellia albipila Miq., Fl. Ned. Ind. Eerste Bijr. Suppl.: 434(1860), Type: Indonesia, collector unknown. Ficus colossea Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 163(1873), Type: Queensland. Herbert River, Rockingham Bay, Dallachy.

Common name

Abbey Tree; Figwood; Fig; Fig, Poison; Poison Fig


Usually not a strangling fig. Bark flakes transparent, the green subrhytidome layer being visible through the flakes. Blaze odour somewhat unpleasant. Exudate watery milky, sometimes irritating to the skin.


Petioles and twigs produce a creamy or milky exudate. Leaf blades about 15-18 x 7-10 cm. Stipules about 0.8-1.5 cm long, densely clothed in fine white prostrate hairs. Younger twigs and petioles clothed in whitish hairs. Oil dots visible with a lens on both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade.


Flowers interspersed with numerous conspicuous bristles. Male flowers mainly around the ostiole, but dispersed among the female flowers as well. Bracts at the base of the fig, two. Lateral bracts not present on the outside of the fig body.


Figs pedunculate, +/- pyriform, about 12 x 12 mm, pubescent on the outer surface. Orifice closed by interlocking apical and reflexed internal bracts.


Cotyledons very small, oblong to orbicular, about 2-3 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade broadly obovate, apex acuminate, base obtuse, margin deeply and irregularly serrate, hairy on the upper surface, upper and lower surfaces somewhat sandpapery; oil dots small, visible with a lens; stipules narrowly triangular with a few pale hairs.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 300 m. Grows in well developed lowland and upland rain forest on a variety of sites but is a characteristic component of the gallery forest on the creeks and rivers of Cape York Peninsula where appreciative, but still hungry, pigs beat distinct narrow paths from one tree to another during the fruiting season. Also occurs in SE Asia and Malesia.

Natural History

Fruit eaten by Fruit Pigeons. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Copious white sap flow, cutters claim extremely irritant. S. Dansie







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