Ficus burkei

Ficus burkei


Common Names

Common Wild Fig (english)
Gewone Wildevy (afrikaans)
moumo (tswana)
umthombe (zulu)


Genus Ficus
Species burkei
SA Plant Number
Basionym Ficus burkei


Ficus burkei [ = thonningii] is a hardy, evergreen to briefly deciduous medium to large fig tree. The smooth stem has pale grey bark with horizontal lines at intervals along the stem. It has a dense, dark, rounded crown of dark-green leaves. The white-spotted figs which turn pinkish when mature are in fact inverted flowers. They are borne on and off throughout the year but peak from October to December.

Birds descend en masse to feast on the sweet and sticky figs as do a whole host of other wildlife. The figs are edible. It is also the host plant to various butterflies.

This is a strangler fig and has aerial roots. The seeds sometimes germinate in the fork of another tree and as the new trees grow will slowly strangle the host tree. The young leaves and figs make good fodder. It has many medicinal and traditional uses.

It makes a majestic avenue tree or simply a stunning single shade tree in big gardens. Do not plant figs near walls, pools, pipes or paving.

They grow well in colder gardens but need protection from the cold when young. Plant in sun or semi-shade.

Size: 8 to 15m


Fruit for Birds:

Birds (as well as insects and some small mammals including monkeys) feast on the ripe fruit of Common Wild Fig.

Butterfly Host Plant:

Ficus burkei is the larval host plant of a number of butterfly species



An excellent specimen and shade tree for the larger garden. Makes a majestic avenue subject where space allows for this.

Also makes a beautiful bonsai subject.


Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape

Natural Habitat:

Rocky hillsides, savannah, woodland and forests


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