Ficus benjamina, commonly known as weeping fig, benjamin fig or ficus tree, and often sold in stores as just ficus, is a species of flowering plant in the family Moraceae, native to Asia and Australia. It is the official tree of Bangkok. The species is also naturalized in the West Indies and in the states of Florida and Arizona in the United States. In its native range, its small fruit are favored by some birds, such as the superb fruit dove, wompoo fruit dove, pink-spotted fruit dove, ornate fruit dove, orange-bellied fruit dove, Torresian imperial pigeon, and purple-tailed imperial pigeon. The United States Forest Service states, "Roots grow rapidly, invading gardens, growing under and lifting sidewalks, patios, and driveways." They conclude that its use in tree form is too large for residential planting, therefore, the species should only be used as a hedge or clipped screen. These trees are also considered a high risk for succumbing to storm gale winds in hurricane-prone south Florida. As a consequence, in many jurisdictions in South Florida, no permit is needed for removal of these trees. The South Florida Water District recommends removing them safely, and promptly.
The plant is a major source of indoor allergens, ranking as the third-most common cause of indoor allergies after dust and pets. Common allergy symptoms include rhinoconjunctivitis and allergic asthma. Ficus plants can be of particular concern to latex allergy sufferers due to the latex in the plants, and should not be kept in the environment of latex allergy sufferers. In extreme cases, Ficus sap exposure can cause anaphylactic shock in latex allergy sufferers. The consumption of parts of plants leads to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Exceptions are the edible fruits.
Allergy to Ficus plants develops over time and from exposure. The allergy was first observed in occupational settings amongst workers who regularly handled the plants. A study of workers at four plant-leasing firms showed that 27% of the workers had developed antibodies in response to exposure to the plants.
Its latex and some fruit extracts are used by indigenous communities to treat skin disorders, inflammation, piles, vomiting, leprosy, malaria, nose-diseases and cancer besides the use as a general tonic. The plant is also used as antimicrobial, antinociceptive, antipyretic, hypotensive and anti-dysentery remedy.
Ficus benjamina L. (Moraceae), locally known as weeping fig, is a multipurpose tree found in various parts of Pakistan. F. benjamina is native to a large area including India, southern China, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, the Philippines, northern Australia, and the islands of the South Pacific F. benjamina is cultivated in many parts of the world including American Samoa (Tutuila), French Polynesia (cult.), Marshall Islands (Kwajalein (cult.), Majuro (cult.), Tonga as well as Florida, in the United State. It grows as a large evergreen shrub, up to 8 m tall, with nearly 10 m wide spreading crown and drooping shoots with young slender twigs. The plant is well known due to its medicinal potential. Its latex and some fruit extracts are used by indigenous communities to treat skin disorders, inflammation, piles, vomiting, leprosy, malaria, nose-diseases and cancer besides the use as a general tonic. The plant is also used as antimicrobial, antinociceptive, antipyretic, hypotensive and anti-dysentery remedy. The leaves and twigs are used as insect repellant. The leaves, bark and fruits of F. benjamina contain various bioactive constituents like cinnamic acid, lactose, naringenin, quercetin, caffeic acid and stigmasterol.
Despite its wide use, some literature is available about the chemistry and the biological properties of this plant. In this context, as part of our studies on indigenous flora of Pakistan, the present study was conducted to evaluate some chemical and biological characteristics of F. benjamina.