I’d love to be able to say that eating “home grown” Sandpaper figs was a delicious bush tucker foodie experience … but sadly, it wasn’t. Not that they weren’t interesting – slightly sweet and fibrous with a definite hairy mouthfeel (maybe I should have peeled them?). And I’d certainly eat them if I was lost in the bush and waiting for a chopper to respond to my distress call … But I’m happy to leave them for the birds to enjoy.
They are also quite photogenic, both in their natural state in the bush and on the top of an Instagram-like breakfast bowl. OK – so I couldn’t help myself. But without the tweezers or the patience, my effort is definitely “Not Quite Instagram”.
Initially, I thought I had two types of Sandpaper figs in the garden. One, a slightly scruffy looking shrub with small figs which turned a dark purply black when ripe,
and the other a medium sized tree with attractive bark and fruit which grows on the trunk. The fruit stays green and never seems to ripen.
Both appear to be Ficus coronata, so it’s possible that the tree is male and the shrub is female. As they are separated by about forty metres, you might think that this would pose a problem … but no, they are pollinated by a fig wasp. Clever.
Traditionally, aboriginals use the fig leaves to polish their wooden implements, and I can well imagine this working, as a handful of leaves rubbed on your skin would probably remove more than just the dead cells. A case of extreme exfoliation.
This plant is definitely NOT a weed in my book, you can eat the fruit, polish your skin or your boomerang, make rope out of the inner bark, use the latex to heal wounds, and sit in its shade and enjoy the parade of visiting native birds. It can pop up anywhere it likes in my garden …
6 thoughts on “Hairy Figs …”
They certainly are a ‘giving’ plant with all those uses….tell me what a peeled one is like….I’m thinking nicer. Maybe you could rub the hairs off? Do you think they could be used for jam? Lovely photo’s as always..
Think I need to scoop the pulp out before eating – and apparently you can make jam but you’d need loads of them!
Sounds like a much fiercer version of kiwi fruit?
Yes, and I think I should have scooped out the pulp and not eaten the whole thing 🙄
I’m not keen on them popping up all through the garden though the gardener in the family loves them too.
Luckily they seem to be limiting themselves to shady areas away from the house – but I wouldn’t want a tree popping up in the middle of my lawn 😉