Ficus racemosa

Ficus racemosa (syn. Ficus glomerata Roxb.) is a species of plant in the family Moraceae. Popularly known as the cluster fig tree, Indian fig tree or goolar (gular) fig, this is native to Australia, Malaysia, Indo-China and the Indian subcontinent. It is unusual in that its figs grow on or close to the tree trunk, termed cauliflory. In India, the tree and its fruit are called gular in the north and atti in the south. The fruits are a favourite staple of the common Indian macaque. It serves as a food plant for the caterpillars of the two-brand crow butterfly (Euploea sylvester) of northern Australia.[1]

Ficus racemosa
Ficus racemosa fruits at Makutta (1).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus
F. racemosa
Binomial name
Ficus racemosa

Ficus glomerata Roxb.

In HinduismEdit

According to the Shatapatha Brahmana, the Udumbara tree was created from the force of Indra, the leader of the gods that came out of his flesh when he overindulged in soma:

From his hair his thought flowed, and became millet; from his skin his honour flowed, and became the aśvattha tree (ficus religiosa); from his flesh his force flowed, and became the udumbara tree (ficus glomerata); from his bones his sweet drink flowed, and became the nyagrodha tree (ficus indica); from his marrow his drink, the Soma juice, flowed, and became rice: in this way his energies, or vital powers, went from him. [2]

In the Atharva Veda, this fig tree (Sanskrit: uumbara or udumbara)[3] is given prominence as a means for acquiring prosperity and vanquishing foes.[4] For instance, regarding an amulet of the udumbara tree, a hymn (AV xix,31) extols:

The Lord of amulets art thou, most mighty: in the wealth's
ruler that engendered riches,
These gains are lodged in the, and all great treasures. Amulet,
conquer thou: far from us banish malignity and indigence,
and hunger.
Vigour art thou, in me do thou plant vigour: riches art thou, so
do thou grant me riches.
Plenty art thou, so prosper me with plenty: House-holder, hear
a householder's petition.[5]

It has been described in the story of Raja Harischandra of the Ikshvaku dynasty, that the crown was a branch of this udumbara tree, set in a circlet of gold. Additionally, the throne (simhasana) was constructed out of this wood and the royal personage would ascend it on his knee, chanting to the gods to ascend it with him, which they did so, albeit unseen.

The tree has been worshipped as Abode under which Lord Dattatreya teaches that to teach first learn from others however small or big. There is always something to be learnt from One and to learn new things one has to learn to unlearn as per the time.The tree is seen planted in all the places associated with Lord Dattatreya who is seen as an icon Rishi a sage who represents all the three of the trinity of Hinduism: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (Creator, Preserver and destroyer) needed for each one to learn by unlearning the obsolete. this is the plan of evolution in analogy. Its leaves are an indispensable part of many Hindu havans.

In BuddhismEdit

Both the tree and the flower are referred to as the udumbara (Sanskrit, Pali; Devanagari: उडुम्बर) in Buddhism.[6] Udumbara can also refer to the blue lotus (nila-udumbara, "blue udumbara") flower. The udumbara flower appears in chapters 2 and 27 of the Lotus Sutra, an important Mahayana Buddhist text. The Japanese word udon-ge (優曇華, literally "udon/udumbara flower") was used by Dōgen Zenji to refer to the flower of the udumbara tree in chapter 68 of the Shōbōgenzō ("Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma"). Dōgen places the udonge in the context of the Flower Sermon given by Gautama Buddha on Vulture Peak. Udonge is also used to refer to the eggs of the lacewing insect. The eggs are laid in a pattern similar to a flower, and its shape is used for divination in Asian fortune telling.[7]

In Theravada Buddhism, the plant is said to have used as the tree for achieved enlightenment (bodhi) by the 26th Lord Buddha, Konaagama (Sinhala: කෝණාගම).


Lion-tailed macaque feeding on a fig
Pickled and halved gular figs in Vietnam
Indian Giant Flying Squirrel feeding on figs at Polo forest, Gujarat, India

The Ovambo people call the fruit of the cluster fig eenghwiyu and use it to distill ombike, their traditional liquor.[8]

Health usesEdit

The bark of audumbar (oudumbar) tree is said[by whom?] to have healing power. In countries like India, the bark is rubbed on a stone with water to make a paste, which can be applied over afflicted by boils or mosquito bites. Allow the paste to dry on the skin and reapply after a few hours. For people whose skin is especially sensitive to insect bites, this is a very simple home remedy.


  1. ^ Braby, Michael F. (2005). The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. p. 194. ISBN 0-643-09027-4.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899, 1964). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (London: Oxford University Press), pp. 175, 186. Retrieved 19 Nov 2008 from "Cologne University" at and
  4. ^ See, e.g., Shyam Singh Shashi (1999), Encyclopaedia Indica (Anmol Publications), Ch. 9 "The Tree Cult," esp. pp. 241, 244-46. Retrieved 19 Nov 2008 from "Google Books" at,M1.
  5. ^ Ralph T. H. Griffith (trans.) (1895-6). Hymns of the Atharva Veda, pp. 236-7. Retrieved 19 Nov 2008 from "Sacred Texts" at
  6. ^ McCullough, Helen Craig; Murasaki Shikibu (1994). Genji and Heike: Selections from The Tale of Genji and The Tale of the Heike. Stanford University Press. p. 94. ISBN 0-8047-2258-7.
  7. ^ Hadamitzky, Wolfgang; Mark Spahn (1996). The Kanji Dictionary. Tuttle Publishing. p. 783. ISBN 0-8048-2058-9.
  8. ^ Shaanika, Helvy (26 October 2012). "Ombike – a potent traditional brew". New Era. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012.

External linksEdit