Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Creeping Fig

The creeping fig, Ficus pumila is a common exotic fig used to cover the surfaces of overhead bridges and other structures.

There are two forms of these fig, the creeping ones have small little leaves while the others that extend outwards have bigger leaves as shown in the picture above.


And they bear big pear shaped fig fruits or more famously known as 无花果. The proper name for them are called the syconia.


QY sliced up it up into half for us to see the anatomy inside. These syconia contain both male and female flowers. The red ones are the female flowers and the white ones at the tip of the fruit where an opening called ostium are the male flowers. It is said that there are about 1000 male and 6000 female flowers in each fruit!

Many figs including this have mutualistic relationships with agaonid fig wasps. The female will squeeze through the ostia and lay eggs in the female flowers and die inside the fruit. Upon hatching, the males will mate with the young females and chew an opening to the ostia for their mates to escape. In the process, the females have to pass through the male flowers whereby pollen will be stuck on them.

And thus the female fly off to look for fig fruit to repeat the cycle, also bringing the pollen to fertilise other fig trees. The males which are wingless, die after fulfilling their husbandly role.


Federick Ho said...

Interesting post. I have learnt something about this creeping fig.

Siyang said...

Thanks for your comments too :)

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