Ficus Burt Davyii ‘Nana’

This cultivar from Africa has stiff oblong leaves about 3.5 cm long. It bears small round fruit, about 3 mm in diameter, at the axils of leaves. I am growing it in a rectangular pan about 8 cm deep. It thrives in the sun, likes a lot of water and can take heavy pruning. It is a favourite of bonsai hobbyists.

Ficus Ulmifolia ‘Is-is’

When it is fruiting, the Is-is is a banqueting table for birds! I understand humans can eat the fruit too - the addition of a little cream and sugar will do the trick. (But I suggest you leave the fruit for the birds.)

If anyone has spent part of their childhoods in a barrio, they might remember the rough leaves people used to clean plates and cooking utensils. Or to polish or scrub wood. It is a good-looking tree when grown. This part of our heritage is now a threatened species; it appears in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species of 2004. If we find it in our backyards, let's leave it alone, and allow it to grow and generate new plants and thus enable our children's children's children to enjoy it and the animals that feed off it in their time.