Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Ficus spp. (Caxinguba, bibosi)

Nomenclature etc. MORACEAE. F. anguina, F. crassiuscula, F. glabrata, F. insipida, F. killipii, F. hartwegii, F. mathewsii, F pertusa, F. ruiziana, F. trigona. Trade and local names: higuero, higuerón; figueira, bibosi, ají, corcho (BO); caucho (CO); cauchillo, gambo, matapalo (EC); ojí (PE), matapau (BR). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 11 specimens. Tree. Geographic distribution: Mexico and Central America to temperate South America.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct or indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically yellow white or grey, without streaks. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.3–0.65 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter (170–)200–250(–280) µm. Average number of vessels/mm² (2–)3–6(–10). Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 8–11 µm. Vessel-ray pits predominantly with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular or horizontal to vertical. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels absent.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thin-walled, or of medium wall thickness. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma bands 2–3 per radial mm. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma aliform, or confluent. Aliform parenchyma lozenge. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 4–8.

Rays. Rays 4–7 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), (1–)2–6 cells wide. Height of large rays commonly 500 to 1000 µm, or commonly over 1000 µm. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells or mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells. Sheath cells occasionally present.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes F. anguina, F. crassiuscula, F. insipida, F. pertusa, F. ruiziana, F. trigona present (F. glabrata, F. hartwegii, F. killipii, F. mathewsii), or absent.

Cambial variants. Included phloem absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells and axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square or procumbent. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered, or not chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one, or more than one (up to 2). Silica in some specimens from Peru and Bolivia present or not observed, as grains, in rays cells. Silica particles usually small and inconspicuous.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Ficus sp. • Tangential section. Ficus sp. • Radial section. Ficus sp.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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