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Ficus – Wikipedia

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**Group 1: Description and Taxonomy**

– Ficus is a genus comprising about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphytes in the family Moraceae.
– Fig trees are native to tropical regions, with some species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone.
– Ficus species have unique vegetative traits like white to yellowish latex and triveined leaves.
– The genus Ficus is relatively ancient, possibly around 80 million years old.
– The main radiation of extant Ficus species likely occurred between 20 and 40 million years ago.
– Different Ficus species have undergone adaptive radiation in various biogeographic regions.
– Ficus is the most species-rich plant genus in many tropical forests, with species richness decreasing with an increase in latitude in both hemispheres.

**Group 2: Cultivation and Economic Importance**

– The common fig (Ficus carica) is cultivated for its fruit, which is economically important.
– Figs are of cultural significance in the tropics and are used for worship and practical purposes.
– Some Ficus species are grown for their fruits, with Ficus carica being extensively cultivated.
– Figs serve as food resources for wildlife and contribute to local economies.
– Ficus species occupy a wide range of ecological niches, with high alpha diversity due to adaptive radiation.
– Figs are frequently found as pests on potted plants and can be spread through plant exportation.

**Group 3: Mutualism with Pollinating Fig Wasps**

– Each fig species is pollinated by specific wasp species, leading to a mutualistic relationship.
– Introduction of fig species outside their native range can cause infertility due to the absence of appropriate pollinators.
– Mutualism between fig plants and fig wasps benefits both organisms reproductively.
– Genetic and molecular analyses show a close relationship between figs and wasps in terms of evolution and speciation.
– Some fig species have multiple pollinator wasp species, while some wasps pollinate multiple fig species.

**Group 4: Systematics and Selected Species**

– Ficus is the largest genus in the Moraceae family, with over 800 species.
– Recent phylogenetic studies challenge the traditional classification of Ficus.
– The relationships between different sections of Ficus subgenera are still being resolved.
– Selected Ficus species include Ficus destruens, Ficus drupacea, Ficus elastica, Ficus exasperata, and Ficus faulkneriana.

**Group 5: Cultural and Spiritual Significance, Uses, and Cultivation**

– Fig trees hold cultural and religious significance in various traditions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.
– Specific fig species have historical uses like producing papel amate and herbal remedies.
– Cultivation of fig species like Ficus carica, Ficus benjamina, Ficus elastica, Ficus lyrata, Ficus maclellandii, and Ficus pumila for ornamental and practical purposes.

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