Ficus rubiginosa (Ficus obliqua var. petiolaris)
Isn’t this a wonderful tree?
This species is known locally as "scrub fig", and this specimen is growing beside Prince Henry Drive, in Toowoomba, just where the northern end of the road narrows to go through the gate.
I looks as though it must once have been once two trees which have joined themselves together after one fell towards the other. It's difficult to tell whether they are truly grafted, or just hugging each other closely.
The result is an enormous shady canopy, reminding us that the technique of planting several trees close together, to produce the garden shade we want, is something that could be used more often than it is, (with whatever tree species we choose), in gardens.
This plant is is (or they are) fruiting splendidly just now, so would be giving the birds a feast. Like most local native figs (F. fraseri is an exception) this species has a variable fruiting time. Not all the trees of the species would be fruiting now, and this is fortunate for the fruit-eating birds, which can find food somewhere for much longer periods than would be possible if all the trees fruited at once.
For more on this species, see July 2009.