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Department of Botany

Since 1980

Ficus benjamina L.


Vellal, Malai Ichi

   Botanical NameFicus benjamina L.
   SynonymsFicus comosa. Roxb.; Ficus nitida Thunb.; Ficus nuda (Miq.) Miq.
   Common NameEnglish : Benjamin’s fig, Weeping fig/ Tamil : Vellal, Malai Ichi
   DistributionGlobal: Tropical and subtropical Asia and Australia. Introduced as ornamental in tropical countries.
Indian: Throughout India
   DescriptionLarge tree up to 30m height, epiphyte in early life, bark light grey and smooth, branches drooping with glossy leaves, aerial produced from the lateral branches. Leaves simple, petiolate, stipulate, alternate, elliptical, thick, shinny, apex acuminate, margin entire and wavy. Inflorescence hypanthium. Figs solitary or paired borne in axillary leaf branches, globose, pubescent, base attenuate in to stalk, sessile, involucre bract inconspicuous and permanent. Male, gall and female flower in same fig. Male flowers shortly pedicellate, stamen 1, filament long. Gall flowers many, narrowly spathulate, ovary ovoid, smooth and shorty. Female flower, sessile, calyx lobe 3, shortly spathulate, stigma enlarge. Achenes, ovoid - reniform, shorter than persistent style.
   Flowering Fruiting periodJuly - December
   UsesOrnamental and indoor plant.
   Medicinal UsesUsed for the treatment of boils and wounds. Bark juice used for treatment of liver diseases. Plant paste applied for the treatment of rheumatic headaches.
   Tamil NameVellal, Malai Ichi