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Products > Ficus brandegeei
Ficus brandegeei - Desert Fig

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Moraceae (Mulberrys)
Origin: Baja California (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: NA
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [Ficus petiolaris, F. palmeri]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
Ficus brandegeei (Desert Fig) – A medium sized tree that is often kept to a small and interesting container plant with swollen pale whitish-green basal trunk and short stems bearing glabrous broad heart-shaped green leaves with red veins.

Plant in full sun to bright light in a light soil and irrigate little to regularly. Cold hardy to around 30 F so protect from frost but can be grown successfully into a nice interesting tree outdoors in near frost free locations or as an indoor container plant.

Ficus brandegeei grows in Southern Baja California from eastern side of the Sierra de la Gigantea near Loreto south to the Cape. It is closely related to another Baja species, Ficus palmeri, which has pubescent stems, foliage and fruit. The genus name Ficus comes from the ancient Latin name for figs and their edible fruit and the specific epithet originally proposed as Ficus brandegei (ending with a single "e" before the "I") by Paul Carpenter Standley in The Mexican and Central American Species of Ficus published by the U.S. National Herbarium in 1917 based on the type in the herbarium of the University of California (no 142205) that was collected at San José del Cabo, Lower California, Mexico September 15 1899 by Townshend Stith Brandegee (1843-1925), who also previously collected the plant at the same location in 1890. Brandegee (whose first name is sometimes spelled Townsend but is usually referred to just as T.S.) was a 19th century botanist who explored and botanized Mexico and the southwestern US, including our own Santa Barbara Channel Islands.

More recent treatment of this plant by Dr. Cornelis C. Berg of the Norwegian Arboretum, the author of the section on Moraceae in The Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons edited by Urs Eggli and published in 2002, includes Ficus brandegei and Ficus palmeri with the central Mexican species Ficus petiolaris, noting that the presence or absence of hairs on various plant parts was not a viable characteristic to distinguish the plants as this variability was common throughout the genus Ficus. This synonymy is followed by all current taxonomic databases. We received these plants in 2008 as Ficus brandegeei from Mountain State Wholesale Nursery in Phoenix and sold it from then until 2010, so continue to list it under this name. 

This information about Ficus brandegeei displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.