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The Exotic Rainforest
Plants in the Exotic Rainforest Collection

Ficus altissima "variegataBlume

Ficus altissima "variegataBlume

Lofty Fig, Variegated Rubber Tree or Council Tree

I used to track down all types of nurseries in South Florida just to see what unusual plants they might be growing.  Randy King owns a nursery called King Nursery in Homestead, FL.  He grows a lot of plants you end up seeing in hotel lobbies.  Randy and I have a common interest, N scale model railroads.  So it was pretty natural that I would end up looking around Randyís nursery one day.  Randy had a plant in a corner all by itself, a "rubber tree", Ficus altissima variegata.  I thought the variegated leaves were very interesting so I asked about the ficus.  Randy promptly said I could have it "".  So in the car it went.  That tree is still in Miami but we are growing this "cutting" from the original in our atrium.  Its common name is the Council Tree, or Lofty Fig.  It is sometimes called a Variegated Rubber Tree due to its similarity to the common household rubber tree plant.  I have no idea why on either of the other names. The tree is native to Malaysia and the Philippines and in itís native habitat it is a large upright tree.  Our plant is now close to 12 feet tall and we have to prune it regularly to keep it from outgrowing the atrium.  I don't know how large it could become if in the tropics but many ficus can reach over 50 feet.  The leaves are similar in size to those of most "rubber trees" kept as house plants, approximately 8 to 9 inches.  As with other ficus, the tree would prefer unfiltered direct sunlight.  Unfortunately the place where I have it planted is now filtered.  The tree is somewhat spindled but healthy and we water and feed it like any other plant that would be a native of the Philippines.  A lot!