Morton Bay Fig


General description

Often begins as epiphyte, then becomes large, free-standing, buttressed tree < 30 m tall. Leaves are large, < 29 x 12 cm. ‘Fruit’ is fleshy, an enclosed inflorescence (synconium) and < 4 cm in diameter.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment, from 1 September 2022, you:

  • will not be allowed to breed, distribute, release or sell Morton Bay fig within the Auckland region.
  • will not be allowed to plant Morton Bay fig within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • must destroy any Morton Bay fig on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Epiphytic on native and exotic tree species, especially pōhutukawa and phoenix palms, rock walls.

Seeds dispersed by birds and mammals.

Competes with, shades and strangles native plants. Copious year-round fruiting may restructure frugivore communities and support elevated populations of vertebrate pests.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig or pull out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds and epiphytes in trees

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 2g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Drill and inject trees with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water if safe to do so. Drill 18mm holes (tangentially angled downwards) in a spiral up the trunk. For 50mm stems drill one hole. For 100mm stems drill two holes. For larger stems drill holes 150mm apart.

Safety notes

Large trees must not be drilled that are closer than 1.5 times the height of the tree from paths, walkways and property.

Trees over 4 metres in height should be removed by a qualified arborist.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Port Jackson fig
Ficus rubiginosa

Port Jackson fig has much smaller and hairier leaves (half the size) and smaller fruit with no stalk.

Search tags

RPMP status

Whole region (Sustained Control)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Morton Bay fig - Main species image