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Ficus macrophylla vs columnaris, 4 trees compared

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I've got 2 each of F. macrophylla var. macrophylla and F. macrophylla var. columnaris that were all planted reasonably close together, and all around 1998. It's interesting to see how they have developed. My primary interest in fig trees is the banyan aerial-rooting habit, so that's what I have been chasing.

The published taxonomies have a lot of distinguishing factor to determine the difference between macrophylla and columnaris. I suspect they were based on herbarium samples and not on fieldwork. From what I've seen there is significant variation in leaf shape, size, tomentum etc between individuals in both populations, and also in aerial rooting ability. Undoubtedly the LHI populations are much more likely to form true banyan habit, but the only absolutely true distinguishing feature is that columnaris is endemic to LHI!

 

So in a totally non-scientific way here are some pictures showing differences of 4 fig trees grown in NZ in the same spot for almost 20 years. Tree 1 and 2 are mac. var. mac. collected from seed in Gisborne NZ, Tree 3 is a mac. var. col., seed from collected from a tree in Sydney, and Tree 4 is a mac. var. col. from seed collected on Lord Howe Island.

 Upper and lower leaf surfaces of the 4 trees, T1, T2, T3, T4 in that order. Size comparison is not truly accurate as all leaves came from lower branches (often with smaller leaves) that could be easily reached from the ground.

P1060934.JPG.86b8df12cdae1fc8ecaaf4df85d

 

 

It was difficult to photograph the entire tree as they were all surrounded by other trees. But here is trunk base detail showing aerial root development.

 

 Tree1

P1060914.JPG.828d229236f6e5c9b97f1c95eb0

 

Tree 2

P1060915.JPG.28326c04a6a76732c24fbb8da47

 

Tree 3, much more interesting banyan form!

P1060913.JPG.9eb1a38d912c035e52a1ccc549b

 

Tree 4... I think I'll cut the other 3 down!

P1060926.JPG.7dcd95ff14d662a838277aed4ab

P1060923.JPG.7d0e22a40cd8d58a03ec67a6035P1060925.JPG.1aa6568984c7da5fd5804d60f24

 

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I really love these trees. :D

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Awesome!

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Great Pics Bennz !

cull the mainland forms ! :)

Just a note to the viewers interested: I have spoken to people who insist the LHI form has different leaf size or shape. I have now grown hundreds of LHI macs and Mainland forms. The 3 trees that seed were collected from on LHI and grown have developed 3 very different shaped and sized leaves from each other. So like you said leaf size isn't always an accurate judge of character. If I had only grown LHI trees collected from one tree on the island I could wrongly assume that because most of the seedlings were uniform to each other that that's what all the LHI macs looked like. But this isn't true. One commonality to the LHI trees though is that they still do grow the aerials quite differently than the average mainland form. 

There are people doing in depth DNA testing on both populations. Maybe some day soon they will publish findings of how different they are or how similar they are to each other. I'll post any updates I hear of. Tim 

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Bennz, is this the look you seek ?   ( I can't imagine have sufficient property for such plantings !)  :D

IMG_3051.JPG

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Or... if you don't a large garden in a sub/tropical climate, this is another way to appreciate exposed fig tree roots. In this case, this is my Ficus obliqua (sold to me years ago as F. eugenioides) growing over a rock. 

Ficus_bonsai.jpg

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Yes Darold, looks pretty good to me! That must be one of the LHI trees, beautiful. I've planted almost 1000 of them on my place now, should make some visual impact in years to come. Mine are only babies at 20 years old, but OTOH they do get large quickly. Did you look at the pictures in the LHI museum? I recall one scene of open kikuyu grassland and cows grazing in the 1930's, when I visited in 1999 the same spot was covered in Eucalyptus microcorys forest with these amazing MASSIVE banyans growing there, looking 1000years old, but could not have been older than about 65 since germination.

Hilizard, the great thing about this species (and a number of others) is we can reproduce that same look full scale in a temperate climate. I've sent seed to people who have found this LHI banyan performs very well in N CAL.

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47 minutes ago, Bennz said:

Yes Darold, looks pretty good to me! That must be one of the LHI trees, beautiful. I've planted almost 1000 of them on my place now, should make some visual impact in years to come. Mine are only babies at 20 years old, but OTOH they do get large quickly. Did you look at the pictures in the LHI museum? I recall one scene of open kikuyu grassland and cows grazing in the 1930's, when I visited in 1999 the same spot was covered in Eucalyptus microcorys forest with these amazing MASSIVE banyans growing there, looking 1000years old, but could not have been older than about 65 since germination.

Hilizard, the great thing about this species (and a number of others) is we can reproduce that same look full scale in a temperate climate. I've sent seed to people who have found this LHI banyan performs very well in N CAL.

Bennz: I have seen many well-grown ornamental Ficus species in the Bay Area of Northern California, but I find them somewhat problematic in the interior of NorCal, though some report success (e.g., Modesto). For me the problems stem (pardon the pun) from both winter lows and summer heat. This year my Ficus rubiginosa 'variegata' suffered leaf scorching during our most recent spell of triple-digit heat. Normally it has no problem in full summer sun here, though I give it winter protection. Metrosideros species also do far better in Bay Area locations that don't see frost and/or heat waves, compared to inland NorCal.

RustyLeafFig.jpg

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Metrosideros excels is very common as a street tree here in San Francisco. Our microclimate is such a good analogue for the tree's habitat that the plants become problematic, since they grow so strongly here.  I have seen them completely broken off above ground level, only to re-sprout with multiple leads. They grow well with no summer irrigation.

I planted two in my own garden and now regret the selection. I removed one last winter.  The roots will range far beyond the drip line and suck up all the irrigation intended for my palms!  When I sever a root, the root will re-grow across the saw kerf.  It is necessary to cut a gap of several inches to prevent this healing.  The cut root end will often send out multiple new roots like a Hydra head.  :angry:

Truly, the force is strong with this tree !  :mrlooney:

 

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3 hours ago, Hillizard said:

Bennz: I have seen many well-grown ornamental Ficus species in the Bay Area of Northern California, but I find them somewhat problematic in the interior of NorCal, though some report success (e.g., Modesto). For me the problems stem (pardon the pun) from both winter lows and summer heat. This year my Ficus rubiginosa 'variegata' suffered leaf scorching during our most recent spell of triple-digit heat. Normally it has no problem in full summer sun here, though I give it winter protection. Metrosideros species also do far better in Bay Area locations that don't see frost and/or heat waves, compared to inland NorCal.

 

Jeff in Modesto had a F. columnaris from me growing well for him,  I think he removed it because it was doing too well! It is not a tree for smaller gardens. I guess most of the other people who grew them were closer to the coast. 

I wonder how much of the damage on your tree could be attributed to the fact it is a varigated form? They do tend to be more tender. Were there any normal rubiginosa trees damaged by the same heat? Being a lithophyte or hemi-epiphyte from Southern Australia I would expect F. rubiginosa to have pretty good heat tolerance normally.

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59 minutes ago, Bennz said:

Jeff in Modesto had a F. columnaris from me growing well for him,  I think he removed it because it was doing too well! It is not a tree for smaller gardens. I guess most of the other people who grew them were closer to the coast. 

I wonder how much of the damage on your tree could be attributed to the fact it is a variegated form? They do tend to be more tender. Were there any normal rubiginosa trees damaged by the same heat? Being a lithophyte or hemi-epiphyte from Southern Australia I would expect F. rubiginosa to have pretty good heat tolerance normally.

Bennz: Perhaps someone else in this forum would know that? I believe the 'normal' form of this Ficus is not uncommon in SoCal gardens. As I wrote, mine usu. has no problems during the summers here in full sun, but the high heat affected it this year, despite frequent watering. It's puzzling since my Erythrina variegata 'Orientalis'  -- with much thinner leaves -- had no issues with the heat! Perhaps it's more efficient at transpiration and lowering leaf temperatures.

Erythrina.jpg

Edited by Hillizard
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Hi Bennz.     I have gained some of your own seed that send to me by Josh76 .Only one plant survived , because its leaves were attacked by a tiny beetle . Now it seems it took off.       You remember if they were from plant T4 ?   Thanks . C596697b3b1ef4_Ceroxylonquindiuense001.th596697e11df4e_Ceroxylonquindiuense002.th59669815ab033_Ceroxylonquindiuense003.th59669841f143b_Ceroxylonquindiuense004.thaixeta 

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On 7/13/2017, 9:44:49, caixeta said:

Hi Bennz.     I have gained some of your own seed that send to me by Josh76 .Only one plant survived , because its leaves were attacked by a tiny beetle . Now it seems it took off.       You remember if they were from plant T4 ?   Thanks . C596697b3b1ef4_Ceroxylonquindiuense001.th596697e11df4e_Ceroxylonquindiuense002.th59669815ab033_Ceroxylonquindiuense003.th59669841f143b_Ceroxylonquindiuense004.thaixeta 

The seeds I sent Josh came from both T3 and T4, so I don't know which one you have. The parent tree of T3 in Sydney is an amazing tree with massive numbers of trunks and aerial roots, give this tree a few more years and it will be  a lot more impressive.

You must have amazing native banyans in your location? Can you post some pictures of local Ficus please?

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8 hours ago, Bennz said:

As sementes que enviei Josh vieram de T3 e T4, então eu não sei qual você tem. A árvore-mãe do T3 em Sydney é uma árvore incrível com um enorme número de troncos e raízes aéreas, dá a esta árvore mais alguns anos e será muito mais impressionante.

Você deve ter incríveis banyan nativos em sua localização? Você pode publicar algumas fotos de Ficus local, por favor?

Did you notice the purple petioles , is it characteristic of which ?

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Ficus sp 1 (  Centenary fig tree of the farm of my grandfather.) Native to my region where light frost occurs and the altitude is 900-1100 m , where the best coffees are produced.5968b15709a7e_Ficus013.thumb.JPG.e42eada5968b1f39328b_Ficus010.thumb.JPG.b48a1bd5968b25ea5b54_Ficus011.thumb.JPG.b3bf40f5968b303038e8_Ficus014.thumb.JPG.8085cca5968b355d0326_Ficus016.thumb.JPG.8d17686

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Ficus sp 2 . Fig tree which my grandfather  ( In memorian ) planted and said to be very large , is not native to my region .5968b493e476f_Ficus005.thumb.JPG.8bfc9785968b4c449e86_Ficus006.thumb.JPG.422cdad5968b4f4a0179_Ficus007.thumb.JPG.f37ef335968b533441d5_Ficus015.thumb.JPG.150112f

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