Moreton Bay
Fig Trees

Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens
Long Beach, California

Planted circa 1890, the pair of Moreton Bay Fig Trees (Ficus macrophylla) that was intended to be ornamental now dwarfs the 18-room Rancho Los Alamitos ranch house.
Though the Moreton Bay Fig was a popular planting in the late Victorian era, these particular trees are unusual in that they are a matched pair as opposed to the singular plantings, which were the predominant taste. The generous spacing of these trees has allowed their canopies to spread to 120 feet in diameter. Equally dramatic are the root systems, aboveground and spanning fifty to sixty feet across.

Today, what was once a fashionable non-native species selection has managed to adapt and thrive with time. Their use reflects the significant interest during that period in bringing new and exotic plants to the U.S. in efforts to recast the aura of the native landscapes. The greatest threat to these trees is the potential for poor stewardship practices and choices. The current stewards have made extensive progress in repairing the damage from years of less-informed pruning practices, however, the non-native trees require skilled arborists to continue maintenance and assure their presence for the next hundred-plus years.

Photo © John Divola
educational partners
Garden DesignGeorge Eastman House
Additional Sponsors

John A. Brooks, Inc. • The Brown Foundation • Charles Butt • The City of Charleston • Barb & George Cochran • Topher Delaney• Jungle Gardens, Inc. • Magnolia Plantation & Gardens • Marc Dutton Irrigation, Inc. • Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation • L. Cary Saurage II Fund • Jeff & Patsy Tarr • Seibert & Rice