Ficus americana

Ficus americana Aubl.

Synonym: Ficus perforata

Common Names: West Indian Laurel Fig, Jamaica Cherry Fig

Family: Moraceae

Habit: Ficus americana grows as a large tree to 18 m in height and to 1 m in width. The drooping leaves are arranged alternately (clustered at branch tips), to 10 cm in length, elliptic with an entire margin, an aristate (drip tip) leaf apex. Where the petiole attaches to the stem there is a prominent ring on the stem formed from the dehiscent apical sheath.  The apical sheath has a slight hook at its tip known as a “cats claw”. Vegetative material produces a slightly milky latex when broken.

The highly reduced incomplete, imperfect, actinomorphic, flowers are borne entirely within a structure known as a Synconium (fig) and are fertilized by wasps. It is monoecious. Staminate flowers have a perianth of 2-6 parts and 2 anthers.  The carpellate flowers have no perianth or stamens and a single carpel. The orange to red berry-like “fruits” are in pairs and sessile on the stem.

Ficus americana in the Lucayan archipelago typically does not form adventitious roots as it does in tropical areas.

Habitat: Ficus americana grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Forests/Shrublands (coppice).

Distribution: Ficus americana occurs in the central and northern islands of the Lucayan Archipelago as well as parts of Central America and northern South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Ficus americana is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.