Ficus rubiginosa

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 Ficus rubiginosa subsp. var.  
Port Jackson Fig detail.jpg
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
60ft 35ft
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Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to 35 ft
Lifespan: perennial
Exposure: sun
Features: bonsai, houseplant
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 9 to 11
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Moraceae > Ficus rubiginosa var. ,

The Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) , also known as the Little-leaf Fig or the Rusty Fig, is a tree in the family Moraceae that is native to eastern Australia. It is a banyan of the genus Ficus which contains around 750 species worldwide in warm climates, including the edible fig (Ficus carica).

Like all figs it requires pollination by a particular wasp species to set seed. This actually occurs fairly readily as fig seedlings are a common sight in walls, cracks, crevices and buildings in urban areas of cities such as Sydney. Well known in parks and public gardens in east coast towns and cities, it is also a valuable plant for wildlife and habitat. Old specimens can reach tremendous size. Its aggressive root system precludes its use in all but the largest private gardens, although it is highly popular and well-suited for use in bonsai.

Ficus rubiginosa forms a spreading densely shading tree when mature, and may reach 30 m (100 ft) in height, although it rarely exceeds 10 m (30 ft) in the Sydney region.[1] The trunk is buttressed and can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) in diameter, and the bark is a yellow-brown in colour.[2] Its appearance is that of a small version of its relative the Moreton Bay fig (F. macrophylla), the Port Jackson being generally smaller, with smaller fruit and leaves. Its ovate to oval-shaped leaves are 6-10 cm (2.4-4 in) long on 1-4 cm (0.4-1.6 in) petioles. Often growing in pairs, the figs are yellow ripening to red in colour, tipped with a small nipple and on a 2-5 mm stalk.[1] Fruit ripen throughout the year, although there is a preponderance from February to July.[2]

Having similar ranges in the wild they are often confused, the smaller leaves, shorter fruit stalks, and rusty colour of the undersides of the leaves of the Port Jackson Fig being the easiest distinguishing feature.[1] It is also confused with the small-leaved fig (F. obliqua).[3]

In tropical and humid climates, the lower branches of the Port Jackson Fig may form aerial roots which strike root upon reaching to the ground, forming secondary root systems. This process is known as banyaning after the banyan tree of which it is a characteristic.

It is commonly used as a large ornamental tree in eastern Australia, in the North Island of New Zealand,[4] and also in Hawaii and California in the USA, where it is also listed as an invasive species in some areas. It is useful as a shade tree in public parks and golf courses.[5] Despite the size of the leaves, it is popular for bonsai work as it is extremely forgiving to work with and hard to kill; the leaves reduce readily by leaf-pruning in early summer. It has been described as the best tree for a beginner to work with, and is one of the most frequently used native species in Australia.[6] A narrow leaved form with its origins somewhere north of Sydney is also seen in cultivation.[7]

Ficus rubiginosa is also suited for use as an indoor plant in low, medium or brightly-lit indoor spaces, although a variegated form requires brighter light.[8]



It is easily propagated by cuttings or aerial layering.[2]

Pests and diseases




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Fairley A, Moore P (2000). Native Plants of the Sydney District:An Identification Guide (2nd ed.). Kenthurst, NSW: Kangaroo Press. pp. 62. ISBN 0-7318-1031-7. 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Floyd09
  3. Dixon, Dale J.; Jackes, Betsy R.; Bielig, L. M. (2001). "Figuring out the figs: the Ficus obliqua-Ficus rubiginosa Complex (Moraceae: Urostigma sect. Malvanthera)". Australian Systematic Botany 14 (1): 133-54. 
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ROG
  5. Halliday, Ivan (1989). A Field Guide to Australian Trees. Melbourne: Hamlyn Australia. pp. 200. ISBN 0-947334-08-4. 
  6. McCrone, Mark (2006). "Growing Port Jackson Fig as Bonsai in a Warm Temperate Climate". ASGAP Australian Plants As Bonsai Study Group Newsletter (11): 3–4. 
  7. Webber, Len (1991). Rainforest to Bonsai. East Roseville, NSW: Simon and Schuster. pp. 114. ISBN 0-7318-0237-3. 
  8. Ratcliffe, David & Patricia (1987). Australian Native Plants for Indoors. Crows Nest, NSW: Little Hills Press. pp. 90. ISBN 0-949773-49-2. 

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