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Ficus vogeliana (Miq.) Miq.

Protologue
Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugd.-Bat. 3: 295 (1867).
Family
Moraceae
Vernacular names
False sycomore (En). Faux sycomore (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Ficus vogeliana is distributed from Guinea east to Uganda and south to Angola.
Uses
In Sierra Leone the bole is made into canoes. The wood is suitable for carpentry. Wood ash is used for soap-making. The figs are eaten. The bark is made into cloth, and in Côte d’Ivoire a special cultivar (‘Bofuain Banzo’) is grown for this purpose. In Sierra Leone the bark is recorded to be used for dyeing cloth. Bark extracts are drunk as a laxative and emetic, and for the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. A bark decoction is used to induce vomiting. An infusion of the bark, root or leaf is used as a wash for leprosy. The figs and latex are applied to wounds, whereas juice or latex is also applied to flea blisters. In Cameroon Ficus vogeliana is retained as a shade tree when land is cleared for cocoa production.
Properties
The reddish wood has a beautiful figure, the texture is coarse. The wood is lightweight (density about 400 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content) and soft.
Botany
Tree up to 20 m tall; bole up to 90 cm in diameter, with buttresses; outer bark greyish green, inner bark reddish; young branches hairy. Leaves spirally arranged, almost distichous, simple; stipules 1–2 cm long, persistent for some time; petiole 0.5–5.5 cm long, hairy; blade broadly elliptical to obovate or oblong, 5–22 cm × 2.5–11(–12.5) cm, base cordate to truncate, apex acuminate, margin toothed to almost entire, upper surface rough, sparsely hairy, lower surface often hairy on main veins only, pinnately veined with 5–9 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a fig, the flowers enclosed within, figs on massive leafless branches up to 10 m long arising from the base of the bole (with the figs in the litter) or on usually short branchlets on the trunk up to the main branches, mostly depressed globose, 2–3 cm in diameter, minutely hairy, red to orange-red at maturity, often with yellowish to white spots; peduncle 0.5–1.5 cm long. Flowers unisexual, sessile; male flowers with 3-lobed perianth and 2 stamens; female flowers with 2–4 tepals, 1-celled ovary and short or long style. Fruit an ellipsoid to ovoid drupe c. 1 mm long, 1-seeded, developing within the fig.
The figs are pollinated by the wasp Ceratosolen acutatus.
Ficus comprises about 750 species, with about 100 species in Africa, 500 species in tropical Asia and Australia and 150 species in tropical America.
Ecology
Ficus vogeliana occurs in evergreen forest in moist, swampy or periodically flooded locations up to 1200 altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
With its large distribution area, there are no indications that Ficus vogeliana is threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Ficus vogeliana is a multipurpose tree providing a range of products for local use. Although it is widely distributed in tropical Africa, it does not seem to be much used as a source of timber. Little is known on its wood properties, but in view of its limited use today and the poor wood properties of other Ficus spp., its importance as a source of timber is unlikely to increase.
Major references
• Berg, C.C. & Hijman, M.E.E., 1989. Moraceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 95 pp.
• Berg, C.C., Hijman, M.E.E. & Weerdenburg, J.C.A., 1984. Moraceae. Flore du Gabon. Volume 26. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 276 pp.
• Berg, C.C., Hijman, M.E.E. & Weerdenburg, J.C.A., 1985. Moraceae (incl. Cecropiaceae). Flore du Cameroun. Volume 28. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 298 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
• Hawthorne, W. & Jongkind, C., 2006. Woody plants of western African forests: a guide to the forest trees, shrubs and lianes from Senegal to Ghana. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 1023 pp.
Other references
• Eggeling, W.J. & Dale, I.R., 1951. The indigenous trees of the Uganda Protectorate. Government Printer, Entebbe, Uganda. 491 pp.
• Gassita, J.N., Nze Ekekang, L., De Vecchy, H., Louis, A.M., Koudogbo, B. & Ekomié, R. (Editors), 1982. Les plantes médicinales du Gabon. CENAREST, IPHAMETRA, mission ethnobotanique de l’ACCT au Gabon, 10–31 juillet 1982. 26 pp.
• Hanelt, P. & Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (Editors), 2001. Mansfeld’s encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops (except ornamentals). 1st English edition. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany. 3645 pp.
• Hawthorne, W.D., 1995. Ecological profiles of Ghanaian forest trees. Tropical Forestry Papers 29. Oxford Forestry Institute, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. 345 pp.
• Irvine, F.R., 1961. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Oxford University Press, London, United Kingdom. 868 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Normand, D., 1950. Atlas des bois de la Côte d’Ivoire. Tome 1. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 148 pp.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
• van Noort, S. & Rasplus, J.Y., 2007. Figs and fig wasps. [Internet] http://www.figweb.org/ Figs_and_fig_wasps/ index.htm. Accessed December 2007.
Author(s)
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
D. Louppe
CIRAD, Département Environnements et Sociétés, Cirad es-dir, Campus international de Baillarguet, TA C-DIR / B (Bât. C, Bur. 113), 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
A.A. Oteng-Amoako
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
J.R. Cobbinah
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana

Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2008. Ficus vogeliana (Miq.) Miq. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.