Botanical Name: Ficus platypoda
*Urostigma platypodum Miq.
*Ficus leucotricha (Miq.) Miq.
Common Names: Desert fig, Rock fig
Habitat : Desert fig is native to Australia, it is found across the Top End, from the Gulf Country around the Gulf of Carpentaria across the Northern Territory and into northern Western Australia. It generally found on sandstone outcrops, but has occasionally been found on limestone outcrops.
Desert fig grows as a lithophytic shrub or tree to 10 m high. The branchlets are covered in fine hairs. The leaves are alternately arranged along the stems and are elliptical to oval in shape, measuring 5.3 to 16.7 cm long by 3.1 to 13.3 cm wide. The undersurface is furry. The oval to round figs pale can be various shades of yellow, orange, pink, red or purple and 0.9–2.8 cm long by 1–2.8 cm across.
Desert fig individually produces three types of flowers on its shrub, there is a male flower, a long styled female flower and a short styled female flower that is also known as gall flower. Inside of these flowers contain a fruit like structure that post pollination turns out to ripen up. Herethe role of a fig wasp comes to play, a female fig wasp lays its eggs on the short styled female flowers simultaneously pollinating the long styled female flowers. There are two types of fig wasps, one that belongs to the pollinators group that stimulate pollination and the others are non-pollinators that do not contribute to the process at all. The pollinator male inseminate the female wasp and they lay their eggs in the female flowers that are receptive in nature. The population of these specialized wasp must exceed a minimum size to certify that the flowering and fruiting of the fruit takes place in a perennial fashion every year.
The fruit can be eaten when soft and ripe.There are two categories of fruits, on one side you have fruits and on the other you have fruits that turn into dried fruits.
Desert fig has lots of health benefits.
- It improves disgestive system
- It is Heart healthy
- It is anticancerus
- It is good for diabetic patients
- It improves immunity system and prevents many diseases
Other Uses: Horticulturally, it is suitable for use in bonsai; its tendency to form a wide trunk base and small leaves being attractive features. Specimens have been exhibited in at the 5th Annual Exhibition of Australian Native Plants as Bonsai in Canberra in November 2007
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.