Elephant Ear Fig
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Elephant Ear Fig
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Elephant Ear Fig, Roxburgh fig • Adi: Tapang • Angami: Khrabvu, Chiede, Habanu • Hindi: Fagoora, Phagoora, Tiamble, Timla, Tirmal • Manipuri: ꯍꯩꯕꯥ Heiba • Mizo: Theibal • Nepali: चाँदमुर्राई Chanadumari
Botanical name: Ficus auriculata    Family: Moraceae (Mulberry family)
Synonyms: Ficus oligodon, Ficus roxburghii, Ficus macrophylla Roxb. & Buch.-Ham. ex Sm.

Elephant Ear Fig a fig tree with very large leaves, reminding one of elephant ears. The young leaves start intensely red, and turn more and more green when reaching their ultimate size of up to 50 cm length. It is a tree 5-10 m tall, with crown wide, and a bole diameter of 10-15 cm. Bark is gray, smooth. Branchlets are sparsely pubescent. Stipules, falling off soon, are ovate-lanceolate, 1-1.5 cm. Leaves are alternately arranged, carried on 4-6 cm long stalks. They are obovate-elliptic to elliptic, 12-25 × 6-23 cm, papery, densely small tuberculate on the underside, hairless above, base shallowly heart-shaped to broadly wedge-shaped, margin irregularly toothed. Figs are clustered on short branchlets of old stems, sometimes even on the roots of the tree. They are dark red when mature, pear-shaped to spherical, with 4-6 longitudinal ridges and small tubercles. They are large for figs, 2-3.5 cm in diameter, covered with soft hairs. Figs are edible and sweet. In Meghalaya, fruits are eaten raw, leaves are lopped for highly palatable fodder. Elephant Ear Fig is found in the Himalayas, from Nepal to NE India, Burma, S. China, Indo-China and Malaya, at altitudes of 1000-2100 m.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Sikkim, Kalimpong & Manipur.

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