Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 20: 171 (1894).
Ficus kimuenzensis Warb. (1904).
Quiver-leaf fig (En). Mvumo, uzi (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Ficus tremula is distributed from Nigeria southward to Angola, and from Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda southward to Mozambique and South Africa.
The bark is made into very strong string. In Kenya this string is used for making fish-traps, and the root for making woven bags. The tree provides shade and amenity.
Monoecious shrub, small tree or liana up to 15 m tall, with aerial roots; outer bark smooth, pale grey, not flaking off, inner bark fibrous, with milky, white latex; young branches sparsely hairy to glabrous. Leaves spirally arranged, simple; stipules free, up to 1(–3) cm long, glabrous, caducous; petiole 0.5–4.5 cm long; blade oblong, elliptical, ovate or obovate, 2–11 cm × 0.5–5 cm, base obtuse to rounded to emarginate or cordate, apex acute to acuminate, margin entire, papery to leathery, both surfaces glabrous or the midvein hairy beneath, pinnately veined with 5–9 pairs of lateral veins, with glandular spot at the base of the midvein beneath. Inflorescence a fig, the flowers enclosed within, figs 1–6 together on curved spurs up to 3 cm long on older wood, globose to ellipsoid, 1–3.5 cm in diameter, densely hairy to glabrous, greenish to brown at maturity; peduncle 0.5–3 cm long; basal bracts 2, 2–3 mm long, lateral bracts absent. Flowers unisexual; male flowers with 2–4 tepals and 1–4 stamens; female flowers with 2–4 tepals. Fruit ellipsoid to ovoid, 1.5–2 mm long, developing within the fig.
Ficus comprises about 750 species, with about 100 species in Africa, 500 species in tropical Asia and Australia, and 150 species in tropical America. Within Ficus tremula 3 subspecies are distinguished:
– subsp. tremula (Swahili names: mvumo, uzi): tree or sometimes a climber, twigs usually drying yellowish or greyish, leaf blade mostly drying dark brown above and greenish beneath, base of leaf blade rounded to emarginate; distributed from Kenya southward to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa; occurring from sea-level up to 600 m altitude in lowland dry evergreen forest, woodland and coastal bushland.
– subsp. acuta (De Wild.) C.C.Berg (synonym: Ficus acuta De Wild.): tree or often a liana, twigs drying brown to blackish, leaf blade drying brownish at both surfaces, base of leaf blade obtuse to rounded; distributed in DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda; occurring at 1650–2300 m altitude in upland rainforest.
– subsp. kimuenzensis (Warb.) C.C.Berg (synonym: Ficus kimuenzensis Warb.): small tree or often a climber, twigs drying dark red-brown to blackish, leaf blade drying brownish without strong colour contrast between both surfaces, base of leaf blade cordate to rounded; distributed from Nigeria southward to Angola; occurring at low altitudes in forest and savanna.
The flowers of subsp. tremula and subsp. acuta are pollinated by the wasp Courtella wardi. In southern Africa Ficus tremula fruits in October–November.
Ficus tremula occurs from sea-level up to 2300 m altitude in forest, woodland and bushland.
Genetic resources and breeding
It is unclear whether Ficus tremula or any of its subspecies are threatened by genetic erosion.
Ficus tremula provides string, but very little information is available on other uses of the fibre and its properties. The species is only locally used and is unlikely to become more important in the future.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2010. Ficus tremula Warb. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
obtained from Figweb
obtained from Figweb