Interim profile, incomplete information
Taxonomic name: Ficus microcarpus L.
Synonyms: Ficus microcarpa var. latifolia (Miq.) Corner, Ficus nitida auct., Ficus retusa auct., Urostigma accedens var. latifolia Miq.
Common names: Chinese banyan, curtain fig, figueira-lacerdinha (Portuguese), laurel fig, laurel-da-Índia (Portuguese), Malay banyan, rong shu (China), Vorhang-Feige (German)
Organism type: tree
Ficus microcarpa is a woody plant species that is native to the Asia-Pacific region. Commonly known as Chinese banyan and the laurel fig, it is a popular ornamental tree that grows in tropical and temperate regions of the world. F. microcarpa has small, tiny seeds that are easily spread by birds, bats and rodents, and which are capable of germinating almost anywhere they land - even in cracks in concrete. F. microcarpa is considered to be a major invasive species in Hawaii, the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands, Florida, Bermuda and Central down to South America.
natural forests, ruderal/disturbed
Ficus microcarpa can easily propogate on many surfaces, including on walls of buildings, on bridges, any cracks in concrete, and in the crevices of trees. If it is not removed F. microcarpa can cause structural damage to concrete and buildings, and will eventually strangle the host tree if it is growing as an epiphyte. F. microcarpa is a fast growing tree, and can also outshade native plant species. (KEW 2010; Wingate & Greene 2009).
Ficus microcarpa specific pollinator wasps (Parapristina verticillata) have also been introduced to areas where F. microcarpa is cultivated, both intentionally (to aid the spread of the tree beyond cultivation) and unintentionally. F. microcarpa can also be propogated via cuttings and air layers. (Nadel & Frank 1992; Starr et al. 2003).
Native range: Temperate and tropical Asia; Australasia and the Pacific (USDA-ARS, 2010)
Known introduced range: Naturalised in Northern America (Florida) and in the North central Pacific (Hawaii); Southern America: Central America and the Caribbean-West Indies in Bermuda (USDA-ARS, 2010); Brazil; Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands.
Ficus microcarpa is particularly susceptible to triclopyr herbicides, if applied as a basal or stump treatment. Small plants can be removed by hand, though they have a tendency to resprout. Plants growing on structures and as epiphytes should be treated when young, to prevent damage to the host structure or the eventual strangling of the host tree. (Starr et al. 2003; Wingate & Greene 2009).
Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
Last Modified: Tuesday, 8 June 2010