Friday, 26th October 2001, West Yorkshire
THIS Ficus benjamina, Weeping Fig, is a long way from its native range from northern Australia, through south east Asia to the Himalayas but it is well adapted to this artificial habitat in a doctors' waiting room. Its glossy leaves resist water loss so it is able to cope with the dry atmosphere and it is tolerant of shade. Like many tropical plants the design of its leaf includes a point at its tip. This acts as a spout to drain off water during a rainstorm.
The species name benjamina comes from bejan, the Indian name for the plant.
When grown indoors 'by far the most important danger is overwatering', writes Dr Hessayon in The House Plant Expert. He suggests that the leaves should be washed occasionally.
This day in 1999