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BANYAN (Ficus macrophylla ssp columnaris)
Biodiversity > Plants > Trees


 Ficus macrophylla subsp. columnaris    Banyan         Family MORACEAE



A tall tree to 20m high, easily recognised by the many thick trunks and roots dangling from the branches which eventually touch the ground and form the new trunks; some individual tree can cover up to 2 hectares. The trunks also have plank buttresses. The yellow under surface of the leaves is noticeable from afar when the wind is blowing. Common on the lowlands, with occasional smaller trees to 500m. This is an endemic subspecies of the Moreton Bay Fig. The large genus of 600-800 species has a pantropical and subtropical distribution.

Leaves alternate or spiralled around the stem towards the end. Large, broad‑ovate 16cm x 10cm, dark glossy green on top, yellowish below. Latex in the stems and leaves. Flowers (most of year) many unisexual flowers enclosed in a hollow globular inflorescenc, 20mm round, on a short stalk, ripening to a purple fruit, fermenting when fallen. The flowers are fertilised by a single species of wasp that lays eggs in the developing flower; the eggs hatch and emerging wasps carry pollen to another flower.

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