Monday, July 9, 2012

Corralitas Drive: Rubber Tree Fruit

Photo: Diane Edwardson, July 4, 2012.  Fruit from Rubber Trees (Ficus elastica) turns brown on the outside when ripe.  It smells a bit like Kiwi fruit.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Apparently, fruit of the Rubber Trees in my yard is like crack to animals.  After watching skunks, opossum, raccoons, rats, parrots, birds, squirrels and dogs obsessively eating the tiny fruit, I had to look investigate further.  (I had been calling them beans, because that's what they looked like.)  
Photo: Diane Edwardson, July , 2012.  The Rubber Trees in my yard bear fruit year-round. However right now, it must be extra tasty due to the warm weather because the dogs have never been so interested in it.

It is a non-native species that grows 98 - 130' tall.  It is a drought tolerant species, but it will knock a house off its foundation to get to water; its roots will break into water and sewer lines.  They are very hard to completely remove once established.  In this neighborhood, they must have been a landscape trend because so many neighbors have these large mature trees near planted too close to their houses (built in 1910 - 1960). 

Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control, on the issue of toxicity. We often get email suggesting some plants are edible. If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research.