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Ficus insipida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
(unranked): Eurosids I
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus
Species: F. insipida
Binomial name
Ficus insipida

Ficus anthelmintica Mart.
Ficus crassiuscula Warb. ex Standl.
Ficus glabrata Kunth
Ficus mexicana (Miq.) Miq.
Ficus radulina S.Watson
Ficus segoviae Miq.
Ficus werckleana Rossberg
Pharmacosycea angustifolia Liebm.

Ficus insipida is a tropical tree in the fig genus of the family Moraceae. It ranges from Mexico to South America, and is commonly found in cloud forest above 1,550 meters ASL.[2]

Description and ecology

This is a tree with buttress roots which ranges from 8-40 m (25-130 ft) tall. Although it is a freestanding tree when mature, F. insipida begins its growth as a climbing vine. It clings to a mature tree, eventually strangling it. Its favored hosts are Guarea tuisana and Sapium pachystachys, and it is also frequently found on already-dead trees.[3]

Leaves vary shape from narrow to ellipse-shaped; they range from 5-25 cm (2-10 in) long and from 2-11 cm (0.8-4 in) wide[4]. It flowers February to April and bears warty, yellow-green fruit 4-6 cm in diameter. Though they are edible like most figs, as the scientific name (literally "insipid fig") implies they are of unremarkable taste. Monkeys feed on fruits still on the tree, and fallen fruits are eaten by peccaries.

Two subspecies can be distinguished:

  • Ficus insipida ssp. insipida Willd.
  • Ficus insipida ssp. scabra C.C.Berg

Use by humans

The wood is soft, but it is used for construction purposes where durability is not important.

Ficus insipida is used by wajacas (shamans) of the Craós (Krahós, Krahô) tribe in Brazil as a memory enhancer[5]. Its latex is also employed in South American folk medicine as the anthelmintic called ojé, but as it is toxic it must be used with care[6].


  1. ^ MBG [2008a,b]
  2. ^ Haber (2000), MBG [2008a]
  3. ^ DeWolf (1960), Daniels (1991)
  4. ^ DeWolf (1960)
  5. ^ Rodrigues & Carlini (2006)
  6. ^ Hansson et al. (2005)


  • Daniels, James D. (1991): Habitat and Host Preferences of Ficus crassiuscula, A Neotropical Strangling Fig of the Lower-Montane Rain Forest. J. Ecol. 79(1): 129-141.
  • DeWolf, Gordon P. Jr. (1960): Ficus (Tourn.) L.. In: Nevling, Lorin I. Jr.: Flora of Panama. Part IV. Fascicle II. Ann. MO Bot. Gard. 47(2): 81-203. First page image
  • Haber, William (2000): An Introduction to Cloud Forest Trees. Mountain Gem Publications, Monteverde de Puntarenas, Costa Rica. ISBN 9977124183
  • Hansson, Anders; Zelada, Julio C. & Noriega, Hugo P. (2005): Reevaluation of risks with the use of Ficus insipida latex as a traditional anthelmintic remedy in the Amazon. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 98(3): 251-257. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.12.029 (HTML abstract)
  • Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) [2008a]: Flora de Nicaragua – Ficus insipida [in Spanish]. Retrieved 2008-NOV-01.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) [2008b]: – Ficus insipida synonyms. Retrieved 2008-JUN-29.
  • Rodrigues, Eliana & Carlini, E.A. (2006): Plants with possible psychoactive effects used by the Krahô Indians, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 28(4): 277-282. PDF fulltext

External links

  • Ficus inspidia Trees, Shrubs, and Palms of Panama, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Center for Tropical Forest Science.


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