Ficus elastica

25 Sep

Ficus elastica (24/08/2013, Sitia, Crete, Greece)

Ficus elastica (24/08/2013, Sitia, Crete, Greece)

Position: Full sun   

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: N/A

Eventual Height: 40m

Eventual Spread:  30m

Hardiness: 10a, 10b, 11, 12, 13

Family: Moraceae

Ficus elastica is an evergreen tree with a spreading habit. Its dark green glossy leaves are ovate with a pointed tip and entire margins, up to 40cm long an 15cm broad. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 2m. The grey brown bark is finely fissured. Its branches form aerial roots in warm humid climates, where these touch the ground they grow.  Its flowers are insignificant. Its yellow fruit is a spherical berry and up to 1cm across.

Ficus elastica Leaf (24/08/2013, Sitia, Crete, Greece)

Ficus elastica Leaf (24/08/2013, Sitia, Crete, Greece)

Ficus elastica, commonly known as Rubber Fig, Rubber Tree, Rubber Plant or Indian Rubber Bush, is native to the north east Indian region, Burma, south China and south East Asia. The latex sap of this tree was formally used to make rubber.

The etymological root of the binomial name Ficus is from the Latin name for the edible fig. Elastica is from the Latin meaning ‘elastic’, in reference to this plant’s latex sap.

Ficus elastica Bark (24/08/2013, Sitia, Crete, Greece)

Ficus elastica Bark (24/08/2013, Sitia, Crete, Greece)

Ficus elastica may be useful to the landscape architect as a large evergreen tree. Once established this tree is drought tolerant. Care should be taken when locating this plant as its latex sap is an irritant to skin and eyes.

Ecologically, Ficus elastica fruit are attractive to some birds.

Ficus elastica prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Ficus elastica requires little maintenance.


4 Responses to “Ficus elastica”

  1. SmallHouseBigGarden 25/09/2013 at 14:20 #

    this dang tree/shrub whatever you call it, is the bane of my backyard existence. OUT OF CONTROL!!
    two years ago my son cut it so far back it was nothing but a 5ft tall by 5ft wide circle of thick,leafless branches…now it is literally as tall as my queen palm (a good 30ft) and maybe 20-30ft wide. How do you keep these monstrosities looking good? clearly what I’m doing ain’t working!

  2. SmallHouseBigGarden 25/09/2013 at 14:20 #

    if you want I can take a pic and send it to you

    • Davis Landscape Architecture 25/09/2013 at 14:46 #

      I’m not sure where you home is, somewhere warm (no frost) and humid I would guess. Given the right conditions, as you have discovered, this tree is a large and vigorous. It also responds well (or not depending on your requirements) to pruning. It sound like you might have the wrong tree for the current location. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Good luck. I would enjoy seeing a picture.

      • SmallHouseBigGarden 25/09/2013 at 15:18 #

        thanks for the speedy reply! I’m in Vero Beach Florida. At this very moment I’m running out the door, but when I get back I will take a pic!
        Thanks again1

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