Ficus microcarpa, also known as Chinese Banyan, Malayan Banyan,
Indian Laurel or Curtain fig, is a banyan native in the range from
Sri Lanka to India, southern China, the Malay Archipelago, the
Ryukyu Islands, Australia, and New Caledonia.
Hill's Weeping Fig is a form of Ficus microcarpa. It was first
formally described as a species in its own right (Ficus hillii) by
F.M. Bailey in the Botany Bulletin of the Queensland Department of
Agriculture, based on the type specimen collected in the "scrubs of
tropical Queensland'". In 1960, it was reassigned by British
botanist E.J.H. Corner as a variety of F. microcarpa, namely F.
microcarpa var. hillii. In the 2005 Australian Plant Census it was
treated as a synonym of F. microcarpa.
Distribution and habitat
Ficus microcarpa was widely distributed as an ornamental plant
and is one of the most common street trees in warm climates. The
symbiotic pollinating fig wasp, Eupristina verticillata, was
introduced along with F. microcarpa. Such an introduction, however,
can be delayed: in Brazil - where specimens of the tree had been
used in gardening since the nineteenth century, when it was
introduced by the French architect Auguste François Marie Glaziou
into various public parks of Rio de Janeiro - the appearance of
saplings began only during the 1970s. Such saplings are considered
to be very aggressive, as they can grow on the walls of buildings,
bridges, highways, and other concrete structures. The tree is
considered a major invasive species in Hawaii, Florida, Bermuda,
Central America, and South America.
In some parts of its introduced range, it is very attractive to
avian wildlife: in São Paulo, Brazil, ten species of birds were
listed as feeding on its fruits, especially Turdus rufiventris,
Pitangus sulphuratus, Turdus leucomelas, Thraupis sayaca and Celeus
flavescens. Its fruit and leaves are also sought after and eaten by
the parrot Aratinga leucophthalmus. Although invasive, its hardiness
makes it an important species for the attraction of avian wildlife
in urban environments.
Ficus microcarpa as an indoor landscape plant.
Ficus microcarpa is cultivated as an ornamental tree for planting
in gardens, parks, and in containers as an indoor plant and bonsai