Mt Isla Ficus Oddity?
Next to the parking lot of Mt Isa mines are four or five trees that have me a bit confused. Both the mine’s ecologist and I thought they were some exotic species. They’d been planted in a line along a side street, other exotic figs were planted in the parking lot across the road.
I haven’t spent much time reading about exotic figs and once I’d decided it wasn’t native, I wasn’t really interested in it. I couldn’t find any ripe fruit, on the trees or the ground, which backed up my thought that it wasn’t native. As with most new figs I come across I took some cuttings in case it turned out to be something of interest.
These trees are a bit brachypoda like and a bit obliqua like and different enough from both to make me continue to think it’s exotic. The fact I couldn’t find any ripe fruit also made me think it’s exotic. The cuttings I took are now a couple of months old and have been producing fruit, all of which have fallen off before ripening, which is what I would expect.
The other day when checking these cuttings I was surprised to find one plump ripe red fruit, full of seed! If the plant is exotic, it has been pollinated by a local Sydney wasp, yet didn’t seem to be pollinated by any of the Mt Isa wasps? This says to me that if a fig wasp can pollinate a plant… it will. There’s one native fig around Mt Isa, Ficus cerasicarpa and it’s probably too different to this species for it’s wasp to pollinate this plant.
Let me know if you know this species.