Ficus fraseri figs

Commonly referred to as the Shiny, Glossy or White* sandpaper fig, Ficus fraseri is the lesser known sister species of Ficus coronata. Both F. fraseri and F. coronata grow in littoral rainforest along the east coast of NSW and QLD, often side by side. However F. coronata has managed to expand beyond these coastal rainforests and has a much wider distribution.

There isn’t a lot of littoral rainforest around and it is regarded as an endangered ecological community. The current understanding is that most of the littorial rainforests were cleared for farm land. It does however, appear that this forest type is still expanding with many rainforest species happy to colonise cleared land.

If littoral rainforest are rare and you only rarely find F. fraseri in littorial rainforest, you would think this species would also be regarded as rare. This however, is not the case and the species is currently regarded as least concern, at least in QLD. North coast home owners might find seedings of this species, with their oak like shaped leaves, popping up in their yards and think of the species as a bit of a weed. So when you go looking for it in the wild, it is a bit surprising how few mature, and by mature I mean over 40cm tbh (trunk width at breast height) trees there are. If rareness was measured on the amount of mature adults alone, this species would likely take a spot in the rare club. I think I have seen ~50 individuals that are above this size. Let me know if you know of any!

Here’s some pics of figs from a F. fraseri growing near South West Rocks.

A ripe fruit of a Ficus fraseri. They are pretty dry and not great for eating, though they might still be ripening. I have seen fruit with more flesh.
Inside of the fig is lined with tiny flowers, that when pollinated can contain a seed.
With a diameter of 23mm, this is possibly the biggest fig I have seen on a Ficus fraseri. A wasp, likely a pollinator, can be seen on the fig’s peduncle (stem).
Inside the second fig. Note the red, interwoven bracts (above 20 – 20.5cm on the ruler) that the pollinator wasps need to get through to enter the fig. These bracts are much smaller and tighter when the wasps enter. Juvenile seeds can also be seen.

*Ficus virens is also sometimes called white fig.

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