Saturday, January 9, 2010

"It" is--a Ficus elastica plant! :)

Or, more commonly known as, a rubber plant! The green in the picture was one of the giant leaves and the red was actually a new leaf, all curled up!

My brother, Andrew found the following information about rubber plants on Wikipedia and I thought you might like to read it as well:

"Ficus elastica, also called the rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush is a species of plant in the fig genus, native to northeast India (Assam), south to Indonesia (Sumatra and Java).

It is a fat bush in the banyan group of figs, growing to 30–40 metres (98–130 ft) (rarely up to 60 metres/200 feet) tall, with a stout trunk up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) diameter. The trunk develops aerial and buttressing roots to anchor it in the soil and help support heavy branches. It has broad shiny oval leaves 10–35 centimetres (3.9–14 in) long and 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) broad; leaf size is largest on young plants (occasionally to 45 centimetres/18 inches long), much smaller on old trees (typically 10 centimetres/3.9 inches long). The leaves develop inside a sheath at the apical meristem, which grows larger as the new leaf develops. When it is mature, it unfurls and the sheath drops off the plant. Inside the new leaf, another immature leaf is waiting to develop.

As with other members of the genus Ficus, the flowers require a particular species of fig wasp to pollinate it in a co-evolved relationship. Because of this relationship, the rubber plant does not produce highly colourful or fragrant flowers to attract other pollinators. The fruit is a small yellow-green oval fig 1 centimetre (0.39 in) long, barely edible; it will only contain viable seed where the relevant fig wasp species is present.

In part of India, humans guide the roots of the tree over chasms to eventually form living bridges."

I'm pretty sure our little houseplant will never grow large enough to be considered a tree (or to have barely-edible fruit on it), but it's fun to find out that, given the right environment (more room and sunshine...), it might!

My family and I all enjoyed reading the great guesses on this mystery picture...! You have wonderful imaginations. :)


Hannah said...

Oh so that is what it is!
I have never heard of a rubber plant before. It sounds interesting!

Anonymous said...

I knew that looked familiar! My grandma has one in her living room! I never would have guessed that the red thing was a curled-up leaf, though.