Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 57-63

Vegetative propagation of some West African Ficus species by cuttings

  • P. DanthuAffiliated withCIRAD-ForêtISRA/D.R.P.F. Email author 
  • , P. SolovievAffiliated withC.F.P.H.APEFE
  • , A. GayeAffiliated withISRA/D.R.P.F.
  • , A. SarrAffiliated withISRA/D.R.P.F.
  • , M. SeckAffiliated withISRA/D.R.P.F.
  • , I. ThomasAffiliated withISRA/D.R.P.F.

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Ficus species are multipurpose trees well known by rural populations in Sahelian and Sudanian zones of Africa. Their uses are well documented but their amenability for vegetative propagation has not been extensively studied. This paper compares the rooting ability of stem and aerial root cuttings from thirteen Ficus species found in West Africa. It highlights the differences between species belonging to the sub-genera Sycomorus and Urostigma. The former show no capacity to propagate from cuttings whereas the latter, with epiphytic development, can be propagated by cuttings, although this capacity varies among species. Thus, F. thonningii, F. leprieurii and F. ovata are easily propagated, while F. platyphylla and F. elasticoides are propagated with difficulty. The rooting capacity also varies depending on the cutting material used. It decreases in the following order: long leafless hardwood cuttings (pole) > nodal cuttings > apical cuttings. Rooting potential increases when the cuttings are harvested towards the end of the dry season(March to May). Aerial root can be used for cuttings in all species of the sub-genus Urostigma. The capacity of root cuttings to regenerate is greatest when cuttings are collected at the beginning of the dry season (November). In this case, wound-induced adventitious roots arise at the basal end of the cutting while de novo buds are developed from the cambium at the distal end. The subsequent morphological development is identical to that of a stem cutting. These results clarify and allow the optimal use of the knowledge and methods developed by the indigenous people of the Sahel and could assist and promote fig tree (Ficus sp.) domestication in the dry tropics.

Aerial root cutting ‘Low tech’ propagation Stem cutting Sycomorus sub-genus Urostigma sub-genus