The showy ‘Klipvy’ is a small to medium-size, deciduous to semi-deciduous tree that can grow up to a height of 15m, but seldom exceeds 5m. Widespread in the Lowveld, the tree grows easily on rocky outcrops and hillsides where there is good drainage. The most striking feature of the Rock fig is the conspicuous white roots which are clearly visible, spreading over the rock face.
The gnarled, yellow white, smooth trunk is often twisted and has smooth, papery bark that peels off. The leaves are large and heart shaped with prominent veins. These veins are red-brown in young leaves and yellow in older leaves.
Large figs grow directly from the trunk, with a mottled green white appearance. From February to March the fruit ripens, turning red and attracting an abundance of wild life – from birds and fruit bats to baboons and bushbuck. The figs are also a valuable food resource for humans.
Although not widely recognised as a garden tree, the Rock fig makes an interesting feature planted in rocky gardens or on old walls or other unwanted structures. The pale, spreading roots and rounded crown are striking, but beware of planting too close to pools and buildings as the roots can cause damage. The Rock fig is not frost hardy, but can handle drought conditions.