Naturalization of the bodhi fig tree (Ficus religiosa L. - Moraceae) in Brazil


  • Marcelo Dias Vianna-Filho Departamento de Botânica, Museu Nacional
  • Ruy José Válka Alves Departamento de Botânica, Museu Nacional
  • Yan-Qiong Peng Tropical Botanical Garden, China Academy of Sciences
  • Rodrigo Augusto Santinelo Pereira Universidade de São Paulo



Agaonidae, Alien species, Fig wasp, Mutualism, Pollination


Ficus religiosa L. is one of the most valued cultivated ornamental fig trees. Native to Asia, it is known as Bodhi tree. Since fig trees are involved in a highly species-specific pollination mutualism with agaonid wasps, exotic fig species usually fail to produce seeds due to the lack of the specific pollinating wasps. Since 2005 we have been observing plantlets of F. religiosa growing on buildings in Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil, showing that this species was hosting pollinating wasps and, consequently, undertaking sexual reproduction outside its native range. We observed that Platyscapa quadraticeps Mayr, 1885, the original pollinator in Asia, was occurring in figs of F. religiosa in Brazil. Considering that several non-pollinating fig wasp species are associated with F. religiosa in its native areas, novel occurrences of wasps may be reported in the future in Brazil. The presence of the native pollinator provides conditions for this exotic tree to become naturalized and/or invasive in Brazil, potentially causing considerable damage to buildings and urban trees.


Download data is not yet available.



How to Cite

VIANNA-FILHO, M.D., ALVES, R.J.V., PENG, Y.-Q. and PEREIRA, R.A.S., 2017. Naturalization of the bodhi fig tree (Ficus religiosa L. - Moraceae) in Brazil . Bioscience Journal [online], vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 177–182. [Accessed20 May 2024]. DOI 10.14393/BJ-v33n1a2017-34177. Available from:



Biological Sciences