Ficus natalensis

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Natal fig
Ficus natalensis.jpg
figs and foliage
Ficus natalensis, lugwortels, Manie van der Schijff BT, a.jpg
aerial roots
Scientific classification
F. natalensis
Binomial name
Ficus natalensis

Ficus natalensis is a tree in the family Moraceae. It is commonly known as the Natal fig, or "Mutuba" to locals. These trees are distributed from north-eastern South Africa to Uganda and Kenya.

The bark of the tree is harvested, without harming the tree, to make barkcloth, an environmentally-friendly, renewable material. Skilled artisans incorporate this unique fabric into many modern uses, including fashion, accessories, housewares, interior design, and art. The vision is to create sustainable jobs in East Africa by creating a global demand for barkcloth.

Mutuba trees can be harvested annually for up to 40 years, yielding up to 200 m2 of cloth individually.


  • Pooley, E. (1993). The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei. ISBN 0-620-17697-0.

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