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Tour the Lowveld NBG
The Wild Figs (Moraceae)

Of the approximately 25 species of wild fig indigenous to South Africa, 25 are found in the Garden. The most spectacular of them all are those that occur naturally in the Garden, like Ficus glumosa and Ficus sycomorus.

The structure of the fig itself is unique in that the fruit and flowers are borne in one receptacle, known as a syconium: the tiny flowers are borne on the inside of the receptacle wall and are fertilised by minute wasps. Usually one species of wasp will fertilise only one species of wild fig.

The fruits, or syconia, of the Knobbly Fig, Ficus sansibarica, are borne in pairs on woody knobs on the trunk and mature branches. When ripe they are large and colourful, with a relatively sweet flavour.

The spring foliage of the red-leafed rock fig, Ficus ingens, is a blaze of fiery colour, but within the short space of 10 days it reverts to the normal shade of green. The tiny yellow figs are crowded along the branch tips.
This is the amazing strangling root system of Ficus thonningii, the common strangler fig. While it will eventually strangle and kill its host tree, this species is quite capable of attaining tree status on its own. To many people it was previously known as Ficus petersii and this name will probably be reinstated in the next revision of the genus.
The most majestic tree in the Lowveld Garden is Ficus sycomorus, the Sycomore fig. It has a distinctive buttressed base and bears great clusters of large, fleshy figs.
These are the hairy figs of Ficus glumosa, mountain rock fig.
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