This young Ficus sycomorus tree has made it through several winters in northern Gauteng. Purchased at the nursery at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, it suffered a bit from frost in winter and still does, but grows vigorously from spring every year, quickly overcoming any damage. Boosted by the benefits of its positioning close to a French drain that it will surely one day put out of commission, life out of habitat isn’t that bad at all.
F. sycomorus is semi-deciduous. Its large leaves are mainly spirally arranged, sometimes approaching alternate positioning. Leaf shape is ovate or elliptic to nearly round with a broadly tapering to rounded apex and a rounded to lobed base. The leaf margins are entire or toothed, often wavy. Leaf size is 5 cm to 17 cm by 3.5 cm to 15 cm. Leaf surfaces are dark green and rough or smooth, three-veined from the base with five to eight veins on either side of the midrib.
The leaf petiole is 2 cm to 3,5 cm long with oblong and hairy stipules that drop off early. The young leaves are edible, sometimes cooked as a relish (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997; Schmidt, et al, 2002).