Ficus pumila

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Creeping fig
Ficus pumila (Leafs).jpg
F. pumila foliage
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus
Species: F. pumila
Binomial name
Ficus pumila
L. 1753 not Thunb. 1786

Ficus pumila (creeping fig or climbing fig) is a species of flowering plant in the mulberry family, native to East Asia (China, Japan, Vietnam)[2] and naturalized in parts of the southeastern and south-central United States.[3][4] The etymology of the species name corresponds to the Latin word pumilus meaning dwarf,[5] and refers to the very small leaves of the plant.

Ficus pumila is a woody evergreen vine, growing to 2.5–4 m (8 ft 2 in–13 ft 1 in). The juvenile foliage is much smaller and thinner than mature leaves produced as the plant ages. This plant requires the fig wasp Blastophaga pumilae for pollination, and is fed upon by larvae of the butterfly Marpesia petreus.

Growing on the Warren Wilson Beach House, in Venice, California
Nature printed leaves, showing their shape and venation


As the common name, "creeping fig" indicates, the plant has a creeping/vining habit and is often used in gardens and landscapes where it covers the ground and climbs up trees and walls. It is not frost-hardy, and in temperate regions is often seen as a houseplant. It is fast-growing and requires little in the way of care. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[6]

It can become invasive and cover structures and landscape features if not maintained and its growth contained. When climbing buildings or wooden structures, the woody tendrils can cling or root in, and damage structures and/or their surface finishes.

Varieties and cultivars[edit]

Dried, inside out fruit of F. pumila var. awkeotsang, ready for use
  • Ficus pumila var. awkeotsang — awkeotsang creeping fig
  • Ficus pumila var. quercifolia — oak leaf creeping fig
  • Ficus pumila 'Curly' — curly creeping fig; crinkled leaf form
  • Ficus pumila 'Variegata' and Ficus pumila 'Snowflake' — variegated creeping fig; variegated foliage


The fruit of Ficus pumila var. awkeotsang is used in cuisine. In Taiwan, its fruit is turned inside out and dried. The seeds are scraped off and a gel is extracted from their surface with water and allowed to set and form a jelly known in Taiwan as aiyu jelly (or aiyuzi 愛玉子) and in Singapore as ice jelly (文頭雪).


External links[edit]