Sandpaper fig (species: Ficus opposita) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Ficus opposita
Sandpaper fig

©Anne Hoggett: Sandpaper fig about 5 metres high at Lizard Island Research Station, Oct 2014.

©Anne Hoggett: Sandpaper fig leaf at Lizard Island

©Anne Hoggett: Sandpaper fig leaf at Lizard Island. Tiny, sparsely-distributed thorns on the leaf surface give the sandpapery feel (enlarge the image). 
Kingdom Plantae
Division Tracheophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Order Rosales
Family Moraceae
Genus Ficus
Species Ficus opposita



Distinguishing features

A shrub or tree reaching 8 m; leaves opposite or alternate, large with strong veins, rough with sandpaper texture, darker above than below. Young plants can have very different leaf shape to older ones, often elongate and trilobed (thanks to iNaturalist contributors for this information). Small figs form in the leaf axils, singly or in pairs, becoming brown/red then black.


  • Size data has not been obtained.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Web resources


  • Byrnes, N.B., S.L. Everist, S.T. Reynolds, A. Specht and R.L. Specht (1977). The vegetation of Lizard Island, North Queensland, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 88: 1-15. LIRS catalog number 3.
  • De Sloover, J.R. and M. Dufrene (1999). Flora and vegetation of Turtell V, Turtell Islands Group (Queensland, Australia), Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg./ Bull. Nat. Plantentuin Belg., 67: 45-97. LIRS catalog number 577.
  • De Sloover, J.R. and A.-L. Jacquemart (2008). Nymph Island (Great Barrier Reef, Qld., Australia): Flora and vegetation of a low wooded island, Scripta Botanica Belgica, 43: 1-88. LIRS catalog number 1210.
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