Trees of Morni: Chimbal

Chimbal/ Timbal/ Tirmal/ Timla / Elephant Ear Fig/ Broad Leaved Fig (Ficus auriculata/ F. oligodon/ F. roxburghii) is a fast growing woody, deciduous, fig tree with very large leaves, reminding one of elephant ears. Auriculata means ‘Ear Like’. The trunk is short and it divides into a few stout laterals which further branch in all directions. Elephant Ear Fig is found in the Himalayas at altitudes of 1000-2100 m. The leaves are initially red and turn more and more green when reaching their ultimate size of up to 50 cm length. It is a tree 5-10 m tall, with a spreading canopy, and a bole diameter of 10-15 cm. Bark is gray, smooth. Figs are clustered on short branchlets of old stems, dark red when mature, pear-shaped to spherical. They are large for figs, 2 1/2 inches, covered with soft hairs. Figs are edible and sweet and contain a jelly like substance that is eaten raw. The leaves are lopped in winters for highly palatable fodder. The Grey Langurs feed on the fig. The large leaves are used for making disposable plates for community feasts in the Himachal.