Description: Woody or herbaceous plants, dioecious or monoecious; latex present, usually milky, sometimes watery.
Leaves alternate [rarely opposite], simple, mostly pinnately veined; stipules usually shed and leaving a distinct scar.
Inflorescences unisexual or bisexual, spikes or racemes or flowers in heads, or enclosed within a fleshy receptacle, a syconium. Flowers actinomorphic, unisexual, small. Perianth segments usually 4, or absent. Stamens equal in number to the perianth segments, sometimes reduced to 3, 2 or 1. Ovary superior to inferior, 1-locular; styles 1 or 2; ovule solitary.
Individual fruits small achenes or nuts, or drupes, often clustered into a multiple fruit, either a syncarp or a syconium (a 'fig').
Distribution and occurrence: World: 53 genera, c. 1400 species, tropical & temperate regions. Australia: 7 genera, c. 49 species (c. 40 species native), all States, chiefly tropical & E coast.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Moraceae, Order: Rosales)
Some species are cultivated for their edible fruits, especially species of Ficus (figs), Morus (mulberries) and Artocarpus (Breadfruit or Jackfruit). Ficus species are commonly grown as ornamentals, for example, F. benjamina L. (Weeping Fig) and F. elastica Roxb. ex Hornen. (Indian Rubber Plant) as potted plants and F. microcarpa L. var. hillii (Bailey) Corner (Hill's Fig) as a street tree in warmer coastal areas.
Text by G. J. Harden
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Branches with rigid axillary spines; male and female flowers in more or less globose heads, not enclosed in a fleshy receptacle; fruit compound, a syncarp, individual drupes fused into a more or less globose fruit by the fusion of the enlarged floral axis and fleshy perianths||Maclura|
|Branches without spines; male flowers in spikes, male inflorescences variable; fruit solitary or compound but not as above||2|
|2||Trees or erect shrubs||3|
|Climbers or scandent shrubs|
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|3||Flowers formed within a hollow fleshy receptacle; true fruits achenes inside the false fruit, a fig; leaves mostly entire, rarely irregularly toothed, sometimes lobed on young plants; stipule scar encircling the stem||Ficus|
|Flowers not within a hollow receptacle; fruit a drupe or cluster of drupes; leaves regularly toothed, sometimes lobed on young plants; stipule scar not encircling the stem|
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|4||Leaves elliptic to lanceolate, not strongly 3-veined from the base; juvenile leaves often lobed; drupes solitary||Streblus|
|Leaves ovate, strongly 3-veined from base; small drupes clustered and forming a multiple fruit|
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|5||Plants climbing by adventitious roots||Ficus|
|Plants without adventitious roots|
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