Tōpdo (Ficus tinctoria - Moraceae)

Description: There are about 800 species of fig trees found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. All of them are woody. Some are trees, like tōpdo, and others are shrubs or climbers. Many fig trees begin their lives on other trees and then send down aerial roots to the ground. Others climb up trees by means of clasping roots. Fig trees may have extensive root systems either above or in the ground, or both. Tōpdo is a small fig tree with oval leaves about 15 cm (6 in) long. It has bright orange fruit commonly eaten by birds.

Uses: The fruits of tōpdo are boiled as a food.

Distribution: Tōpdo is found in many tropical areas, from the Philippines through much of the Pacific island region, possibly including the Marshall Islands. However, it is said on Majuro that the plant was brought there from Kiribati (Gilbert Islands), and the Marshallese-English dictionary refers to the name tōpdo as derived from the Kiribati name "te bero." Indeed the restricted distribution of this fig tree in the Marshalls (Aelōñļapļap, Mājro, Jālooj, and some other atolls now) and its limited use suggest that it may be a relatively recent introduction, in other words, not a native tree.

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