Ficus sur

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Botanical Name
Ficus sur
Moraceae - The fig and mulberry family.
FY-kus s-UR
Common Name(s)
English: Broom cluster fig; Bush Fig; Cape Wild Fig
Afrikaans: besem-trosvy; Bosvy; Wildevy
IsiXhosa: Umkhiwane
Umkhiwane; Ingobozweni
Sesotho sa Leboa: Mogo-tshetlo; Mphai
Sesotho: Mphayi
Setswana: Nkuwa
Tshivenda: Muhuyu-ngala
IsiNdebele: Ikuwu; Likwani
Plant Group
  • Tree A woody, self-supporting perennial plant usually with a single main stem and generally growing more than 6 meters tall.
Plant Size
  • Very large
    TreeOver 25m
    ShrubOver 4m
    Perennial/ground coverOver 1m
    BulbOver 1.2m
    Succulent1.5m to 2m
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Attractive fruits, berries or seeds Brightly coloured fruits or berries increase and extend the visual impact of the plant and are especially attractive to birds and other small wildlife.
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Frost: Tender A plant that will not survive any frost or low winter temperatures.
  • Roots Invasive Do not plant near pools, paving, walls or buildings.
  • Water Moderate These plants will need some extra watering compared to water-wise plants. Plant them together, in at least some shade and in a convenient proximity to the house so that grey water can be utilised during times of drought.
  • Wind Tolerant Plants able to withstand the effect of strong winds.
Specific Information

Ficus sur has a dense, rounded crown with large, shiny leaves and attractive purplish figs carried in large clusters on the lower parts of the trunk. New growth has a striking pinky colour. Attracts a wide variety of fruit-eating birds, some of them rare visitors that are only seen when the figs are ripe. A white milky fluid or latex exudes from any part of the plant which is damaged.

I have never really noticed that I have never seen a flower on a fig tree. Here's why: Fascinating facts about figs:

The fig we eat is not a fruit but an inside-out flower stalk containing many flowers. This 'container' has a small opening at one end. Through this opening a small female wasp enters and lays her eggs in special infertile flowers, while unintentionally pollinating the fertile flowers and gathering pollen in special sacs. She then leaves through the opening again and carries the pollen to another fig. To add to this intricacy, each species of fig has its own specific species of wasp that pollinates it.

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See comment in Specific Information above.

  • Spring to Autumn Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
Growth Rate
  • Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Attracts Birds This plant will attract birds.
  • Boundary A plant useful for planting around the edges of the property to form a green or colourful backdrop, an impenetrable hedge, to hide walls or create privacy.
  • Provides light / dappled shade A tree with an open to sparse canopy, through which varying degrees of sunlight can penetrate.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

from the Western Cape, to the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo, and into North Africa, alongside rivers and waterways, riverine forest and drier woodlands

Planting Suggestions

Due to a large and invasive root system Ficus sur is best suited to farms, large plots, golf courses and estates, well away from sewage pipes, permanent structures, paving and pools. Ideal for a wildlife garden. Ensure that sufficient space is available for this tree to spread.

The old method of digging a deep hole and filling it with soil and compost has resulted in many trees failing to thrive, dying, rotting at the base or worse still, falling over in later years due to poor root development.  Refer to the following sites for the best method of planting trees: Planting a tree

International Society of Arboriculture: New Tree Planting

Tree People: Plant the right way

For those of you who have a clay problem try:

Rod's Garden: Planting in clay soil

Medicinal Uses

The milky latex found in the stems is used to treat lung problems and is administered to cows to increase milk production. The inner bark is used to make rope. Ficus sur is used in many rituals as it is believed by local people to have magical properties. The fruit is edible and is eaten when it turns pinkish and soft. Jam and preserves can also be made from the fruit.

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What is the easiest way to propagate Ficus sur?

Hi Magret

I have no experience from which to draw, so I'll send you to the experts.
Go to:

Towards the bottom of the page you will find propagation information for this tree.

Kind regards

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