15 Nov 2019

Wonderboom Fig Tree – Raydah Escarpment

Whilst birding a large wadi at the bottom of the Raydah Escarpment we came across a Wonderboom that was about seven metres high and had several fruits in different stages of ripeness. The Wonderboom Ficus salicifolia is an evergreen fig species that ranges from the KwaZulu-Natal midlands in South Africa northwards to tropical East Africa and into southwest Arabia. It mainly grows on outcrops, rocky hillsides and along cliffs fringing water courses and may rarely grow up to 10 m tall, and acquire a leafy spreading crown. They have elliptic-oblong, leathery leaves of about 7 to 10 cm long, are carried on long petioles, and are often noticeably folded along the midrib. The leaves are brittle and have a characteristic smell when broken or bruised. The small, smooth figs are carried on short stalks and measure about 4–6 mm in diameter. They are massed along the branchlets in the leaf axils and change from white to yellowish-red and spotted as they ripen. The figs are eaten by birds and mammals. The Wonderboom fig is sometimes deemed a race of Ficus cordata i.e. F. c. subsp. salicifolia though the latter species has yellowish sessile figs and a more westerly distribution.
Wonderboom Fig Tree

Wonderboom Fig Tree


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