Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ficus elastica

On May 16th, I showed a Magnolia grandiflora tree with a magnificent immaculate white flower. A reader thought it might be instead the flower from a rubber fig. That was not really the case, and that prompted me to show you this photo of a true Ficus elastica, also called the rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush, which is a species of plant in the fig genus, native to northeast India and southern Indonesia. It is a fat bush in the banyan group of figs, growing to 130 ft tall, with a stout trunk up to 7 ft in diameter. The trunk develops aerial and buttressing roots to anchor it in the soil and help support heavy branches. It has broad shiny oval leaves up to 14 in long and 6 in width; leaf size is largest on young plants (such as this one,) and much smaller on older trees. The leaves in this photo measure to more than a foot on average. The rubber plant does not produce highly colorful or fragrant flowers to attract other pollinators. The flowers look like open multiple stem stars with yellow crests. However, I have never seen any flowers on the rubber figs growing in Miami.

Rubber Fig

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