The Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica Moraceæ)


Some of the biggest Ficus elastica Moraceae trees you will ever have seen can be found in Palma de Mallorca at the beginning of the Passeig des Born, near Plaza de la Reina, or a bit further down the street, in Passeig de Sagrera, near La Llotja. The plant is also called the rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush.


I particularly love the adventitious aerial roots grown by the plant for additional support to carry its heavy branches. Botanists say that this tree is a bush, really.


Over the years I have witnessed these giant plants being pruned and cut back rigorously at regular intervals, probably as a precaution against stormy weather. The tree has a tendency to break apart in strong winds.


The Ficus elastica is an evergreen tree with a height of 6 – 10 m. The thick trunk is short and at times very branched from a very small height. It has a wide crown and the external branches are slightly hanging.


The alternate leaves have a petiole reaching up to 5 cm in length. The leaves measure 12 – 30 cm long and are elyptical, coriaceous, shiny bright green on the upper side and paler on the lower side, although there are other varieties with other shades. The venation is very fine and the margin is smooth. Before opening, the leaves are wrapped in a long, reddish or pinkish stipule. The sessile fruits are spherical, 1 cm or more in diameter, with a smooth, greenish, pitted surface.

~ by plantarium on May 15, 2009.

One Response to “The Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica Moraceæ)”

  1. I wanted to send you a picture of the same Ficus elastica but I can’t find a way to send it directly so leave me an email adresse so that I can send it.
    I’m 99% sure it is the same tree (bush) as the one on the 3rd picture of this article.
    I’ve seen this impressive tree in Palma de Majorca this year on St-Valentine’s (14th Ferburary 2016). It’s interesting to compare how it changed over 7 years. It has lost some branches and we can see the scares. Also its roots on the ground level have been covered with dirt.
    So as I said just tell me how I can show you the picture.
    Best greetings from Switzerland.

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