Moreton Bay Fig

Moreton Bay Fig

Common name – Moreton Bay Fig
Botanical nameFicus macrophylla
Family – Moraceae
Natural range – Lord Howe Island, Central QLD Rainforest to Southern NSW
Mature height – 15-35m
Form – Spreading, often wider than it is tall
Likes – A variety of soil types, but ultimately, plenty of space
Dislikes – Can tolerate some frosts, but prefers a warm climate
Where to plant – As a feature tree within parks or the largest of private gardens
Known for – Enormous buttress rootsWhat’s so Special about the Moreton Bay Fig?

Our exploration today takes us on a journey with the Moreton Bay Fig, a personal favourite of mine, and an undeniably fantastic starting point for our tree of the month series. So, why does this tree captivate the hearts of so many?

A Childhood Memory of the Mighty Fig

Take a trip back with me to my childhood, where each year would find my family and me nestled on the North Coast of NSW. The picture-perfect setting comprised two majestic Moreton Bay Figs, so grand in their growth that they seemed to fuse into each other. Their buttress roots were enormous, providing the ideal hideaway, and their wide branches were reminiscent of the thickness of a colossal suspension bridge’s main cable.

Interesting fact: Moreton Bay Figs have the capacity to live for hundreds of years, becoming giants of the landscape over time.

First Steps into Tree Climbing

Under the protective cover of these towering giants, I discovered my love for tree climbing. Despite the sap that persistently found its way onto my clothes, earning me a scolding or two, those trees were my playground. They could comfortably accommodate around 30 children in a thrilling game of hide and seek. Our games would extend well into the night, where we’d venture back armed with torches, albeit with some risky slips and falls.

A Nostalgic Haven

Amid the excitement and the play, the Moreton Bay Figs served as a serene retreat. Perched high amidst the branches, invisible to prying eyes below, I would often stumble upon messages etched into the bark by anonymous teenagers. Proclamations of love, declarations of legends, the trees were silent holders of numerous untold stories.

Further reading: The Magnificent Moreton Bay Fig

The Moreton Bay Figs of Today

Now residing in Victoria, I’m often greeted by the sight of Moreton Bay Figs. These living monuments were planted by visionary urban foresters around the turn of the 19th/20th Century. While they don’t reach the towering heights of their Queensland counterparts, they nevertheless evoke memories of my childhood.

Meet the Moreton Bay Fig: Ficus Macrophylla

The Moreton Bay Fig, scientifically known as Ficus macrophylla, belongs to the Moraceae family. It hails from Lord Howe Island and the central Queensland rainforest, extending down to Southern NSW. This versatile tree can adapt to a range of soil types and needs ample space to truly flourish.

Interesting fact: The Moreton Bay Fig can reach a mature height of 15-35m, often growing wider than it is tall!

An Icon of Warm Climates

Moreton Bay Figs can withstand occasional frost, but they truly thrive in a warm climate. So, where should you plant these natural wonders? Their majestic appearance makes them an excellent feature for parks or expansive private gardens.

Further reading: Growing and Caring for Moreton Bay Fig Trees

Recognizing the Moreton Bay Fig

One can easily identify a Moreton Bay Fig by its enormous buttress roots. While the Victoria-grown figs may not attain the grandeur of those from my childhood memories in Queensland, they still hold a special place in my heart, serving as a delightful reminder of adventures from long ago.

Closing Thoughts: The Majestic Moreton Bay Fig

To conclude, the Moreton Bay Fig, with its impressive size and wide-reaching branches, has been a significant part of both my childhood and my current life. It’s a reminder that trees can hold memories, can be a place of fun and exploration, and stand as an enduring testament to nature’s grandeur. The Ficus Macrophylla is indeed a tree that deserves to be celebrated.

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