The Natal Fig
Common Name: The Natal Fig
Local Name: ނިކަ (Nika)
Age: 10+ years
Scientific Name: Ficus Natalensis
An evergreen or briefly deciduous shrub or tree with a wide-spreading crown; the Natal Fig can grow from 10 to 30 metres tall. It begins its life cycle as an epiphyte on the branch of a tree, eventually growing aerial roots. Once they reach the ground, these roots provide extra nutrients that help the plant grow more vigorously.
The Natal Fig is naturally found in most of tropical Africa from Senegal in the West to the Central African Republic, Uganda and Kenya, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa.
In Africa, it is appreciated for its shade and is sometimes used as a living fence or hedge It is also cultivated in plantations where its pulp is used for fibre and paper production.
The bark of the Natal Fig tree can be used as medicine for whooping cough, influenza and to induce lactation.
The tree species is not common in the Maldives.