Ficus rokko Warb. & Schweinf.

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Ficus rokko

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near Eden Lodge, Vumba

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Synonyms: Ficus thonningii Blume p.p.
Common names: Giant forest fig (English)
Frequency: Local and occasional
Status: Native
Large evergreen tree, up to 40 m high, starting as a hemi-epiphytic strangler but eventually free-standing. Stem often with numerous aerial roots eventually forming supporting pillars. Bark fairly smooth, pale to dark grey, sometimes mottled. Leaves thinly leathery and stiff, elliptic or slightly obovate, 5-12 cm long, dull glossy dark-green above, paler beneath, hairless on both surfaces; lateral veins and midrib raised and yellowish above not raised beneath, finer veins indistinct; apex rounded or finely pointed; margin entire; petiole 14-32 mm long, hairless. Fruit sessile, singly or in pairs in the leaf axils, sometimes below the current leaves, mostly globose, 10-15 mm in diameter, hairless, yellowish-green with small warts, bright red or pinkish when ripe; ostiole not or slightly raised.
Notes: Similar to Ficus burkei and mainly differing in darker, completely hairless leaves, which are broader, widest in the middle and more rounded at both base and apex. It generally becomes a much larger tree with numerous aerial rooks and is more restricted to high rainfall areas of woodland and forest.
Derivation of specific name: rokko: a vernacular name used by the Niam-niam in northeastern DRC, where it was first collected.
Habitat: In montane evergreen forest, riverine forest and occasionally in high rainfall Brachystegia woodland.
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:Figs borne at most times of the year on different specimens.
Worldwide distribution: From Guinea to Angola, DRC, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Also on Sâo Tomé and Cape Verde.
Zimbabwe distribution: E
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Friday 22 June 2012

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2003). Figs of Southern and South-Central Africa Umdaus Press, South Africa Pages 150 - 152. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 215.

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 87. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 147.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 89.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 63.

Timberlake, J.R., Bayliss, J., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Congdon, C., Branch, B., Collins, S., Curran, M., Dowsett, R,J., Fishpool, L., Francisco, J., Harris, Kopp, M. & de Sousa, C. (2012). Mt Mabu, Mozambique: Biodiversity and Conservation Report produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London Page 74.

Other sources of information about Ficus rokko:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Ficus rokko
Flora of Mozambique: Ficus rokko

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Ficus rokko
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Ficus rokko
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Ficus rokko
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Ficus rokko
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Ficus rokko
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Ficus rokko
JSTOR Plant Science: Ficus rokko
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Ficus rokko
Plants of the World Online: Ficus rokko
Tropicos: Ficus rokko
Wikipedia: Ficus rokko

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Ficus rokko., retrieved 20 May 2024

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