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MORACEAE

Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania

Jon C. Lovett, Chris K. Ruffo, Roy E. Gereau & James R.D. Taplin
Illustrations by Line Sørensen & Jilly Lovett

MORACEAE

Antiaris toxicaria Lesch. subsp. welwitschii (Engl.) C.C. Berg
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: A. usambarensis Engl.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkunde (Sw), Mkuzu(S).
Bole: Straight. Large. To 40 m.
Bark: Grey. Smooth/fibrous.
Slash: Yellow/orange with green edge. Off-white latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.3 – 1.0 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 6 – 15 × 3 – 12 cm. Ovate/elliptic/oblong. Cuneate. Asymmetric. Obtuse/acuminate. Entire/serrate. Hairy/glabrous when older.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.3 – 1 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: On spurs in leaf axils or below the leaves.
Fruit: Dark red hairy receptacles. 1 – 1.5 × 0.8 – 1 cm.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater, lowland and submontane forest.
Distr: C, EA, N, LT, LV. Tropical Africa.
Notes: There are three varieties. Two subspecies in Madagascar, one in Asia.
Uses: The wood is white, moderately soft and mainly used for plywood and canoes. The tree is used for shade. The latex is used for birdlime. The bark was formerly used for making bark-cloth.
Bosqueiopsis gilletii De Wild. & T. Durand
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: B. parvifolia Engl.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: NR.
Bole: Small. To 6 m (see notes).
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.3 – 1.0 cm.
Lamina: Small. 2 – 4 × 1 – 6 cm. Oblong/lanceolate/elliptic. Cuneate. 3-nerved from base. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous above/slightly hairy beneath.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.3 – 0.7 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Sessile or on peduncle. Dioecious.
Fruit: Ellipsoid/subglobse. To 2 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Dry lowland forest. Thicket.
Distr: C. Mozambique. Disjunct to Central Africa.
Notes: The east coast populations only reach 6 m in height, but trees from the Congo basin can be 35 m tall.
Uses: This species is mainly used for firewood, poles and tool handles. It is also suitable for ornamental planting in pots.
Ficus artocarpoides Warb.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NR.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Small. To 10 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: White latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate in spirals.
Petiole: 1 – 3.5 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 6 – 21 × 2 – 6 cm. Oblong/ovate/oblong-lanceolate. Cuneate. Acute/obtuse. Entire. Glabrous above/slighly hairy on veins beneath.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.3 – 4 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia on curved spurs. Ramiflorous.
Fruit: Green/purple fig. Globose. 3 – 4 cm.
Ecology: Riverine and lowland forest.
Distr: LT. Uganda, Central and Western Africa.
Notes: Hemi-epiphyte and strangling.
Uses: The tree is used for shade, and for marking graves and farm boundaries.
Ficus bubu Warb.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Medium/large. To 30 m.
Bark: Pale green/pale grey.
Slash: Exuding white latex.
Leaf: Whorled.
Petiole: 3.5 – 11 cm.
Lamina: Medium/large. 12 – 30 × 6 – 23 cm. Elliptic. Obtuse/rounded/cordate. Acuminate/rounded. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.3 – 0.5 cm, up to 4 cm on flush. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia on short spurs on main branches.
Fruit: Fig globose, brown. To 3 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater, lowland forest.
Distr: C, EA. Eastern, Southern and Western Africa.
Notes: Hemi-epiphyte to terrestrial.
Uses: The wood is very soft and of little value. The tree is used for shade.
Ficus bussei Warb. ex Mildbr. & Burret
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. changuensis Warb. ex Mildbr. & Burret
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mgumo (N), Mkuyu (Sw), Mlandege (Ngi).
Bole: Medium. To 25 m.
Bark: Dark brown. Flaking in small patches.
Slash: Exuding white latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spiral.
Petiole: 3 – 5 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 5 – 24 × 3 – 10cm. Ovate/oblong. Acute/obtuse. Cordate. Entire. Glabrous above/slightly hairy below.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.3 – 1.2 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: NR.
Flower: Syconia paired/solitary in leaf axils. Long persistent peduncle.
Fruit: Fig smooth/warted, greenish at maturity. 2 – 3 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater and lowland forest.
Distr: C, EA. Eastern and Southeastern Tropical Africa.
Notes: Terrestrial.
Uses: This species is used for shade and ropes are made from the bark.
Ficus chirindensis C.C. Berg
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NR.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Large. To 35 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spirals.
Petiole: (1.5 -) 2 – 4 (- 6) cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. (4 -) 6 – 12 × (2.5 -) 3 – 5.5 (- 7.5) cm. Oblong/elliptic/ovate. Cordate/rounded. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous/slightly hairy.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR. Stipules: 0.3 – 0.5 cm long, up to 4 cm on flush. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia on spurs on older wood.
Fruit: Figs globose, green/pale yellow, brown spots. 2.5 – 4 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine and montane forest.
Distr: N, LN. Eastern Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Notes: Pillar roots.
Uses: Used for shade and amenity due to its attractive pillar-roots.
Ficus craterostoma Warb. ex Mildr. & Burret
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Small. To 10 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spirals.
Petiole: 0.5 – 2 cm.
Lamina: Small. 3 – 8 × 2 – 4.5 cm. Oblong/elliptic. Cuneate. Obtuse/emarginate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.5 cm. Persistant/falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia in pairs in leaf axils.
Fruit: Fig globose/ellipsoid, red-yellow. 0.8 – 1.2 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater and lowland forest.
Distr: EA, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa.
Notes: Hemi-epiphyte.
Uses: Used for shade. Occasionally planted as a fence.
Ficus cyathistipula Warb.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. rhynchocarpa Warb. ex Mildbr. & Burret
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Small. To 15 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spirals.
Petiole: 1.5 – 4 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 6 – 20 × 3 – 8 cm. Oblong-lanceolate/ovate. Cuneate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: (0.5 -) 1 – 2 (- 3) cm partly connate.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia 1 – 3 in leaf axils.
Fruit: Fig pale green/yellow, globose. 3 – 5 cm in diameter. Warted when dry.
Ecology: NR.
Distr: C, EA, LT, LV. Tropical Africa.
Notes: Terrestrial or hemi-epiphytic.
Uses: Used for shade and for ornamental purposes because of its aerial roots.
Ficus exasperata Vahl
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Lwago (T), Msasa (Sw).
Bole: Slightly crooked/fluted/buttressed. Small/medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Grey/yellow/green. Smooth.
Slash: White. White latex, discolouring yellow (or clear and watery).
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/opposite.
Petiole: 0.5 – 2.5 cm. Round/channeled.
Lamina: Medium. 2.5 – 16 × 1 – 12 cm. Elliptic/ovate. Cuneate/cordate. Acute/acuminate. Serrate/entire. Hairy. Coarse. Simple.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Glandular spots in leaf vein axils.
Stipules: 0.2 – 0.5 cm. Hairy. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia in pairs or solitary in axils or below the leaves. Dioecious.
Fruit: Yellow/red when ripe.1 – 2.5 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, dry lowland, lowland forest.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Tropical Africa, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Southern India.
Notes: Leaves on coppice shoots 3-lobed. The local name Msasa means sand paper tree.
Uses: The wood is white, moderately hard and used for firewood, stools, domestic utensils, and water containers. The rough leaves are used as a substitute for sandpaper and as medicine for eye disease.
Ficus lingua Warb. ex De Wild. & T. Durand subsp. depauperata (Sim.) C.C. Berg
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. depauperata Sim
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: NR.
Bole: Medium. To 30m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spiral.
Petiole: 0.2 – 0.8 cm long.
Lamina: NR.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.2 – 0.5 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Paired axillary syconia.
Fruit: Globose/ellipsoid. Reddish/yellowish at maturity. Smooth. Wrinkled when dry. 0.5 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Dry lowland forest. Thicket.
Distr: C. Mozambique.
Notes: Hemi-epiphyte or terrestrial; subsp. lingua is Western and Central African extending to Uganda.
Uses: Shade.
Ficus lutea Vahl
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. quibeba Welw. ex Ficalho, F. subcalcarata Warb. & Schweinf., F. vogelii (Miq.) Miq.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw), Mlandege (Ngi), Mtsombe (H), Mvumo (S).
Bole: Buttressed. Medium/large. To 30 m.
Bark: Dark brown. Smooth. Prominent lenticels.
Slash: Pink with light brown edge. Copious white latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate. Whorled.
Petiole: 1.5 – 13 cm. Winged.
Lamina: Medium/large. 7 – 25 × 3 – 12 cm. Elliptic/oblong. Cuneate/cordate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous/hairy beneath on young leaves. Simple.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Glandular spot at base of midrib beneath.
Stipules: 0.5 – 2.5 cm. Up to 8 cm on young growth. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Up to 4 sessile syconia in leaf axils or just below.
Fruit: Yellow/orange/brown when ripe. Globose 1 – 2.5 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, lowland, submontane and montane forests. In cleared areas.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Eastern and Southern Africa, Angola, Madagascar, Seychelles.
Notes: NR.
Uses: This large, spreading evergreen tree is favoured for shade and religious ceremonies. The bark was formerly used for making bark-cloth.
Ficus mucuso Welw. ex Ficalho
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mvumo (S).
Bole: Buttressed. Medium/large. To 40 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: (1 -) 2 – 9 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 6 – 17 × 4 – 15 cm. Elliptic/obovate. Cordate. Acuminate/acute. Entire. Hairy on main veins.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 1 – 2 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia on leafless branches up to 30 cm long. Ramiflorous/cauliflorous.
Fruit: Fig red orange, globose, 2.5 – 4 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Lowland forest.
Distr: EA, LV. Uganda, Western and Central Africa, Angola.
Notes: NR.
Uses: Ornament and shade.
Ficus natalensis Hochst.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. leprieurii Miq. (see notes).
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mlumba (Sw), Mulumba (N), Mtamba (H).
Bole: Medium. To 30 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spirals/opposite.
Petiole: 0.5 – 3 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 2.5 – 10 × 1 – 4.5 cm. Oblong/elliptic/obovate. Cuneate. Acuminate/obtuse/emarginate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.2 – 1.0 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Paired axillary syconia.
Fruit: Fig red/orange/yellow to brown. Globose/ellipsoid. 1.5 – 2 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater, dry lowland and lowland forest.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN. Tropical and Southern Africa.
Notes: F. leprieurii Miq. is recorded from the Usambara in TTCL, but this species is now regarded as a west African subsp. of F. natalensis. Possibly this record is based on a mis-identification. Hemi-epiphyte or terrestrial.
Uses: Planted as stakes for shade, windbreaks, avenues, and for boundary and grave marks. It is also used for pot plants. The latex is used for making birdlime. The bark is used as medicine for whooping cough by WaNyamwezi.
Ficus ottoniifolia (Miq.) Miq. subsp. lucada (Welw. ex Ficalho) C.C. Berg
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. lukanda Welw. ex Ficalho
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: NR.
Bole: Small. To 15.
Bark: Smooth.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate. Spiral.
Petiole: 1.5 – 7 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 4.5 – 15 × 2 – 7 cm. Elliptic/oblong/ovate. Cuneate/rounded. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.2 – 0.8 cm long, up to 4 cm on new growth. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia on spurs. Ramiflorous.
Fruit: Fig ellipsoid/globose. 1.5 – 2.0 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, lowland forest.
Distr: LT, LV. Uganda, West-central and Central Africa.
Notes: Lateral veins 3 – 8 pairs.
Uses: A good shade tree and is also suitable for indoor pot raising.
Ficus ottoniifolia (Miq.) Miq. subsp. ulugurensis (Warb. ex Mildbr. & Burret) C.C. Berg
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. scheffleri Warb. ex Mildbr. & Burret, F. ulugurensis Warb. ex Mildbr. & Burret
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: NR.
Bole: Small. To 15 m.
Bark: Smooth.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate. Spiral.
Petiole: 1.5 – 4.5 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 7.5 – 15 × 3 – 7 cm. Elliptic/oblong/ovate. Cuneate/cordate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.2 – 0.8 cm long, up to 4 cm on flush. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia on spurs. Ramiflorous.
Fruit: Fig ellipsoid/subglobose. 2 – 2.5 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, submontane and lowland forest. Thicket.
Distr: C, EA, LN. Southwestern Uganda, coastal Kenya, Malawi.
Notes: Lateral veins 8 – 14 pairs.
Uses: Suitable for ornamental planting and shade.
Ficus polita Vahl subsp. brevipedunculata C.C. Berg
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NR.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw), Mtamba (L).
Bole: Medium. To 15 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spiral.
Petiole: 2 – 12 cm long.
Lamina: Small/medium. 5 – 16 × 3.5 – 10 cm. Obong/ovate. Cordate/rounded. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.5 – 2 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia 1 – 4 together on spurs on the older wood.
Fruit: Figs green/purple, globose. 2 – 2.5 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Montane forest.
Distr: EA. South-eastern Tropical Africa.
Notes: Lateral veins (8 -) 10 – 12 pairs.
Uses: Used for shade, grave marks and ornamental purposes.
Ficus polita Vahl subsp. polita
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: Ficus polita Vahl
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Medium. To 15 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spiral.
Petiole: 2 – 12 cm long.
Lamina: Small/medium. 5 – 16 × 3.5 – 10 cm. Ovate/elliptic. Cordate/rounded. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent. Stipules: 0.5 – 2 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia 1 – 4 together on spurs on the older wood.
Fruit: Figs green/purple, globose. 3 – 4 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Lowland forest. Thicket.
Distr: C. Tropical and Southern Africa. Madagascar.
Notes: Lateral veins 5 – 8 (- 9) pairs.
Uses: Used for shade, amenity and boundary marking.
Ficus sansibarica Warb. subsp. sansibarica
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: Ficus sansibarica Warb.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw), Mpoloto, Mpondopondo (Ngi).
Bole: Medium. To 20 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spiral.
Petiole: 2 – 5.5 cm. long.
Lamina: Medium. 4.5 – 13 × 2 – 6 cm. Oblong/lanceolate. Rounded/cordate. Acuminate/obtuse. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.1 – 1.5 cm long. 4.5 cm on flush. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconium-bearing spurs up to 3.5 cm. long.
Fruit: Figs green/purple. Subglobose. 2 – 6 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Dry lowland and lowland forest. Thicket.
Distr: C, LT. Eastern and Southern Africa.
Notes: Hemi-epiphyte or terrestrial.
Uses: Used for shade, grave marks, and amenity. The figs are sometimes eaten and are also used by women as a tonic to promote fertility in Zanzibar. The split stems are used for making baskets.
Ficus saussureana DC.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. eriobotryoides Kunth & Bouché
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: NR.
Bole: Medium. To 20 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR. Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spirals. Petiole: 1 – 8 (- 16) cm. Lamina: Medium/large. (10 -) 15 – 50 × 3 – 17 (- 25) cm. Oblong/ovate/oblong-lanceolate. Cuneate/cordate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous above/hairy below.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 1 – 8 cm long. 12 cm on flush.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia 3 together in axils or just below leaves.
Fruit: Fig yellow-orange/reddish, subglobose. 2 – 4 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater and lowland forest.
Distr: LV. Uganda, Kenya, Central and Western Africa. Notes: Hemi-epiphytic or terrestrial.
Uses: The plant is used mainly for shade as well as for boundary and grave marking.
Ficus scassellatii Pamp. subsp. scassellatii
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: Ficus kirkii Hutch.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mvumo (Taveta), Kinyandege (S).
Bole: Large. To 50 m.
Bark: Smooth.
Slash: Cream with red flecks/pink. White latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spiral.
Petiole: 0.5 – 2.5 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 6 – 20 × 3 – 8 cm. Oblong/elliptic. Cuneate. Acuminate/obtuse. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.3 – 2 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia 1 – 2 in leaf axils.
Fruit: Fig green, globose/ellipsoid, 3 – 4.5 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater, lowland, submontane and montane forest.
Distr: C, EA, LN. Eastern Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Notes: Hemi-epiphyte or terrestrial.
Uses: Used for shade, amenity and grave marks. The latex is used for making birdlime.
Ficus sur Forssk.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. capensis Thunb., F. mallatocarpa Warb.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Ikubila (T), Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Branched/buttressed. Medium. To 25 m.
Bark: Pale brown. Pitted.
Slash: Red/yellow discolouring. White latex. Fibrous. Wood white.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 1.5 – 9 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 4 – 20 × 3 – 13 cm. Ovate/elliptic. Cuneate/cordate. Obtuse/acuminate. Serrate/entire. Glabrous/hairy.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Hairy. 1 – 3.5 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia on leafless branchlets on branches and trunk.
Fruit: Fig red/dark orange. Subglobose 2 – 4 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, lowland, submontane and montane forest. Left in cleared areas.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa. Yemen.
Notes: NR.
Uses: Used for shade. The wood is used for canoes, water pots, beehives, stools and grain mortars. The fruits are edible. The bark is used by the WaMasai for stomach-ache and baby’s diarrhoea. Roots are used by the WaDigo for treating coughs.
Ficus sycomorus L.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. gnaphalocarpa (Miq.) A. Rich.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Ikuku (T), Mkuyu (Sw), Mkuyu (G, N, Ngi), Msoho (F), Mtsombe (H).
Bole: Buttressed. Medium. To 30 m.
Bark: Pale grey/yellow-green. Smooth.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 1 – 4 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 3 – 12 × 2 – 11 cm. Ovate. Cordate/cuneate. Obtuse. Entire/slightly serrate. Glabrous/hairy on the nerves.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.5 – 2.5 cm. long. Hairy. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia solitary or in pairs in the leaf axils or just below.
Fruit: Fig white/yellow/brown. Hairy. Subglobose. 1.5 – 5 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, lowland forest edge. Woodland.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Eastern and Southern Africa. Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar, Comoros.
Notes: NR.
Uses: Used for shade while its wood is used for grain mortars, doors, beehives, canoes, stools and domestic utensils. The figs are edible. The bark and latex are used as medicine for diarrhoea, swollen throats, chest and glandular complaints.
Ficus thonningii Blume
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. dekdekena (Miq.) A. Rich., F. eriocarpa Warb., F. hochstetteri (Miq.) A. Rich., F. persicifolia Welw. ex Warb., F. petersii Warb., F. thonningii Blume var. heterophylla A. Peter
Syn. other: NR. Local names: Kajimonsole (T), Mlumba (G), Mtamba (L), Mvumo (Sw), Mulumba (N). Bole: Fluted. Small/medium. To 30 m.
Bark: Grey. Smooth.
Slash: Pink. White latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spirals.
Petiole: (0.5 -) 1 – 4 (- 6) cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. (1.5 -) 3 – 12 (- 18) × (1 -) 1.5 – 6 (- 7). Elliptic/lanceolate/ovate. Rounded. Acuminate/obtuse. Entire. Glabrous/hairy on midrib and below.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.3 – 1 (- 1.5). Hairy. Falling/persistent.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia in pairs on leaf axils.
Fruit: Figs reddish/yellow/brown, globose/ellipsoid. 0.5 – 1.5 (- 2) cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, montane forest. Woodland.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Eastern and Southern Africa, Angola.
Notes: A very variable species. A number of forms are recognised. Hemi-epiphytic or terrestrial.
Uses: Commonly planted using stakes and is used for shade, grave marks and for live fences. The bark is used as medicine for influenza and for painful joints. The bark was formerly used for bark-cloth. The latex is tapped for making birdlime. Roots are used to induce lactation.
Ficus tremula Warb. subsp. tremula
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: Ficus tremula Warb.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mvumo (Sw).
Bole: Scandent/branched. Small. To 10 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spiral.
Petiole: 0.7 – 4.5 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 2.5 – 8 × 0.7 – 4 cm. Oblong/elliptic/ovate. Rounded/cordate. Acute/acuminate. Entire. Glabrous/midrib hairy beneath.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.2 – 1 cm long, 3 cm on flush. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia 1 – 6 together on curved spurs up to 3 cm long on older wood.
Fruit: Fig green, subglobose/ellipsoid. 2 – 3 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Dry lowland forest. Woodland. Thicket.
Distr: C. Eastern and Southern Africa.
Notes: There are two other subspecies with slight morphological differences, but separated ecologically and geographically: subsp. acuta (De Wild.) C.C. Berg in Central African montane forest, and subsp. kimuenzensis (Warb.) C.C. Berg in lowland Western Africa.
Uses: Used for shade and amenity because of its shaking leaves. The bark is used for making very strong string.
Ficus trichopoda Baker
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. congensis Engl.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Stilt or pillar roots. Small/medium. To 20 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spirals.
Petiole: 2 – 4 (- 7) cm.
Lamina: Medium. 6 – 20 (- 28) × 4 – 12 ( -21) cm. Cordate/rounded. Acuminate/obtuse. Entire. Glabrous above/hairy below.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 1.5 – 4.5 (- 8) cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia up to 4 together in leaf axils.
Fruit: Fig red/yellow, smooth/warted, globose. 1 – 2 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine and groundwater forest.
Distr: C, LN, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa. Madagascar.
Notes: Terrestrial.
Uses: Used for shade and grave marking.
Ficus usambarensis Warb.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mvumo (Sw).
Bole: Small. To 15 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/spiral.
Petiole: 1.5 – 3.5 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 9.5 – 14.5 × 4.5 – 6.0 cm. Oblong/lanceolate. Rounded. Obtuse. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.3 – 0.5 cm long.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia 2 – 7 together on a spur in leaf axils/below leaf.
Fruit: Fig globose, 0.8 – 1 cm in diameter when dry.
Ecology: Dry lowland forest. Woodland.
Distr: C, LT. Zambia.
Notes: Terrestrial.
Uses: Mainly used for shade, grave marks and for religious ceremonies. The latex is tapped for making birdlime.
Ficus vallis-choudae Delile
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: F. vallis-choudae Delile var. pubescens A. Peter
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuyu (Sw).
Bole: Medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Grey/pale brown. Rough.
Slash: Red. White latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/whorled.
Petiole: 2 – 11 cm. Round.
Lamina: Medium. 4 – 24 × 3 – 24 cm. Ovate. Cordate/cuneate. Obtuse/acute/acuminate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous above/hairy on young leaves. Simple.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Present. Glandular spots in axils of main basal lateral veins.
Stipules: 1 – 3 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia solitary in leaf axils or below the leaves. Monoecious.
Fruit: Yellow/orange when ripe with longitudinal orange/red stripes. Globose 3 – 6 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater, lowland and submontane forest.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT. Tropical Africa.
Notes: NR.
Uses: The wood is used for cheap furniture, domestic utensils, grain mortars, stools, water containers and beehives. The figs are edible.
Ficus variifolia Warb.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NR.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mvumo (Sw).
Bole: Buttressed. Large. To 35 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 1 – 5 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 5 – 20 × 2 – 11.5 cm. Oblong/elliptic/ovate. Cordate/rounded. Acute/acuminate. Entire/lobed when young. Glabrous/hairy when young.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.3 – 0.7 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Syconia solitary or pairs in leaf axils.
Fruit: Fig, yellow, globose. 2 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Lowland forest. Pioneer.
Distr: LT. Uganda, Central and Western Africa.
Notes: NR.
Uses: Commonly used for shade and grave marks.
Mesogyne insignis Engl.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuhe (S).
Bole: Straight. Small. To 15 m.
Bark: Grey. Smooth.
Slash: Pink/brown with broad cream streaks slowly discolouring brown. White latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.3 – 1.0 (- 1.5) cm.
Lamina: Medium. 5 – 26 × 1.5 – 9.5 cm. Oblong/obovate/elliptic/lanceolate. Cuneate/rounded. Acuminate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous above/slightly hairy beneath.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.3 – 1.1 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary. Monoecious.
Fruit: Ellipsoid. 2.5 – 3 × 1.5 – 2 cm.
Ecology: Lowland and submontane forest.
Distr: C, EA. Disjunct to Sao Tomé.
Notes: NR.
Uses: The wood is hard, heavy and used for firewood, tool handles, building poles and spoons.
Milicia excelsa (Welw.) C. C. Berg
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: Chlorophora excelsa (Welw.) Benth. & Hook. f.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkamba (T), Mvule (Sw).
Bole: Straight/buttressed. Large. To 50 m.
Bark: Brown to grey and black. Rough and scaling. Distinct yellow/brown lenticels.
Slash: Yellow to orange toward wood. Copious white latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 1 – 5 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 6 – 20 × 4 – 10 cm. Oblong/elliptic, variable. Cordate/cuneate. Acuminate. Entire/serrate on young trees and coppice shoots. Hairy when young, becoming glabrous with age.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.5 – 5 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: White. In drooping axillary spikes. Dioecious.
Fruit: Small nut surrounded by fleshy lobes. 0.25 – 0.3 cm long clustered together in green spikes.
Ecology: Riverine, dry lowland, lowland and submontane forest. Pioneer.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Tropical Africa.
Notes: NR.
Uses: An excellent timber for furniture, building construction, bridges, boat building, flooring strips and veneer. The tree is used for shade and avenues.
Morus mesozygia Stapf
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: M. lactea (Sim) Mildbr.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkuzufunta (S).
Bole: Small/large. To 35 m.
Bark: Grey/pink with white patches. Smooth.
Slash: Yellow. White latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.5 – 2 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 3 – 13 × 2 – 8 cm. Ovate/elliptic. Cuneate/cordate. Asymmetrical. 3-nerved from base. Acuminate/acute. Serrate. Hairy.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 0.5 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary/below the leaves. Dioecious.
Fruit: Ellipsoid/subglobose. 0.5 × 0.3 – 0.5 cm.
Ecology: Riverine, dry lowland and lowland forest.
Distr: EA, LT, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa.
Notes: NR.
Uses: The wood is hard and moderately heavy. It is used for timber, tool handles, stools and carvings. The latex is used for making birdlime.
Treculia africana Decne.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mjaya, Mwaya (Matengo).
Bole: Large. To 50 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: White latex.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.2 – 1.5 cm.
Lamina: Medium/large. (5 -) 10 – 25 × (2.5 -) 4 – 12 cm. Elliptic/ovate/oblong/lanceolate/ovate. Rounded/cordate. Acuminate/acute. Entire. Glabrous above/slightly hairy beneath.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: 1 – 1.8 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Globose inflorescence 2.5 – 10 cm in diameter. Dioecious.
Fruit: Subglobose. Up to 30 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, lowland forest.
Distr: EA, LT, LV. Tropical Africa. Madagascar.
Notes: NR.
Uses: The wood is white, soft and used for rough timber, firewood and charcoal. The tree is suitable for avenue and shade planting. Seeds are roasted and eaten or pounded and cooked with soup.
Trilepisium madagascariense Thouars ex DC.
Syn. FTEA: T. madagascariensis DC.
Syn. TTCL: Bosqueia phoberos Baill.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mzughu (S). Mfilafila (H).
Bole: Straight. Small/large. To 30 m.
Bark: Dark brown. Smooth.
Slash: Yellow with brown/purple edge. Off-white latex usually copious. Wood white.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.3 – 1.5 cm. Channeled.
Lamina: Small/medium. 2 – 14 × 2 – 7 cm. Elliptic/oblong/lanceolate. Cuneate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.2 – 1 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary. Monoecious. Female flower solitary, resembles a fig but is wide open at apex. Male flowers many, perianth absent, stamens long, creamy-white to mauvish.
Fruit: Ovoid/ellipsoid purple/red drupe-like. 1.2 – 1.8 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Riverine, groundwater, lowland and submontane forests.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa. Madagascar, Seychelles.
Notes: The local name Mfilafila means a tree with latex.
Uses: The wood is strong and heavy. It is used for firewood, building poles, tool handles and spoons. The latex is used for making birdlime.
Last Updated: 18 June 2017