Botanical Name: Ficus palmata
Subgenus: F. subg. Ficus
Species: F. palmata
Synonyms: Ficus pseudocarica, Ficus palmata sensu King
Common Names: Wild Fig: Bedu, Punjab fig, Punjab Fig • Hindi: Anjiri, Jangli-Anjir, Khemri • Kannada: Kadanjura • Manipuri: Heibam, Heibamana • Telugu: Manjimedi • Gujarati: Pepri
Habitat: Ficus palmata is native to E. Asia – Himalayas.It is occasionally found in forests, more commonly around villages, in waste ground, fields etc. Open places, generally along the banks of streams at elevations of 600 – 2700 metres in Nepal.
.Ficus palmata is a deciduous, moderate-sized tree, 6-10 m in height. It is usually seen cultivated as a shrub. Young branches, velvety, often becoming hairless; bark, smooth, dull, ash gray, can be stripped off with the hand, exposing the white to light-yellow wood underneath; wood, moderately hard. Leaves, alternate, broad, ovate, membranous, 12.92 cm long, 14.16 cm broad, with a heart-shaped base, and toothed margin (which is rare in figs). Leaves are dark green and rough on the upper surface, light green and tomentose on the lower surface. Punjab Fig is one of the tastiest fruits found growing wild in the mid-Himalayan region. It is at par with the cultivated figs in taste and flavour, however, size is rather small in this case. In the hills of India, this fig is eaten largely and is succulent, sweet and pleasant.
Requires a well-drained medium to light loam and some lime rubble incorporated into the soil. A heavy wet soil tends to encourage excessive plant growth at the expense of fruit. Not very hardy in Britain it is best on a south or south-west facing wall in order to provide winter protection and more heat in the summer for ripening the fruit. It would probably succeed in a sheltered position in the open in the milder areas of Britain. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. This species is closely related to the common fig, Ficus carica, and is not perhaps specifically distinct. It has been recommended for growing in areas where the climate is too wet for common figs since it fruits during the monsoon season in the Himalayas. However, it probably requires the fig-wasp in order to pollinate the flowers and so is unlikely to fruit in areas such as Britain that are too cold for the fig-wasp to survive. The fruits are often sold in local markets in the Himalayas. There is a potential for commercial cultivation.
Fruit – raw. Sweet and succulent. A very tasty fruit, it is often dried for later use. The fruit is about 2.5cm in diameter and annual yields from wild trees is about 25kg. The fruit contains about 6% sugars, 1.7% protein, 0.9% ash and 0.2% pectin. Low in vitamin C, about 3.3mg per 100g. The unripe fruits and young growth are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. They are boiled, the water is removed by squeezing and they are then fried. a nice green vegetable. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.
The fruit is demulcent, emollient, laxative and poultice[194, 240]. It is used as a part of the diet in the treatment of constipation and diseases of the lungs and bladder. The sap is used in the treatment of warts. The latex of the plant is used to take out spines lodged deeply in the flesh
Other Uses: The pliable wood is of little value but has been used for making hoops, garlands, ornaments etc.
Known Hazards: The sap and the half-ripe fruits are said to be poisonous.
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