Creeping fig

Family • Moraceae - Ficus pumila L. - P'i-li - CLIMBING FIG

Scientific names

Ficus repens Hort.
Ficus pumila L.

Common names

Creeping fig (Engl.)
Climbing fig (Engl.)
Creeping rubber plant (Engl.)
Fig ivy (Engl.)
P’i-li (Chin.)
Mu-lien / wood lotus (Chin.)

Creeping fig is a prostrate or climbing shrub; when young, flattened, creeping and clinging close to adobe walls, woods, etc., and ascending when old with ultimate branches 30 – 80 cm long. Leaves are more or less two-ranked, on very short petioles, ovate, 1.5 to 3 cm long with obtuse tip, round or heart-shaped based and with entire or slightly wavy margins. Leaves on the erect branches are very much larger, oblong, 5 to 10 cm long and on long petioles. Pedicels are axillary, 2.5 to 4 cm in diameter. Flowers are minute, unisexual, arranged inside a fleshy receptacle called syconium. Syconium are bell-shaped, 2.5 to 4 cm in diameter. Fruits are achenes, borne in the axils of leaves, somewhat pear-shaped, 4 to 6 cm long.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Three new sesquiterpenoid glucosides of Ficus pumila fruit / Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin / 2000-Jan; vol 48 (issue 1) : pp 77-80

(2) Chinese Medicinal Herbs / Shizhen Li, Porter Smith, G. A. Stuart

(3) Bioactive furanocoumarin derivatives from Ficus pumila / Juan E A et al / Philippine Journal of Science


Grown widely as an ornamental plant or creeper; vigorously growing on adobe and concrete walls.

Parts utilized
· Stem, leaves and fruits.
· Stem and leaves: Collect year round, rinse, cut into pieces; sun-dry.
· Fruits: Collect May to October; discard inside contents; sun-dry.


Constituents and properties
· Gum from the plant yields glucose, fructose and arabinose.
· Fruit contains protein and latex.

· Fruits are emmenagogue; sperm-invigorating, and lactation-inducing.
· Stem and leaves are stomachic; invigorates the circulation; refrigerant and anti-infectious.


• Fruits: For bed-wetting, impotency, orchitis.; lack of milk secretion and irregular menstruation.
• Decoction of fruits (9-24 g), stem and dried leaves (9-15 g) for rheumatism, arthritis and pains due to sprains.
• Okinawans in Japan use F. pumila as herbal medicine or beverage to treat diabetes and high blood pressure.
• In China, leaves used for painful and swollen piles. Leaves also used for dysentery, hematuria and locally to carbuncles. Whole plant used for spermatorrhea and as a galactagogue. Also used for impotence, menstrual disorders, dysuria, dyschezia, rheumatism, lumbago, boils and impetigo.

Study Findings
• Antioxidant / Flavonoid Glycosides / Rutin: Four flavonoid glycosides were isolated from the leaves of Ficus pumila. Of these, rutin showed the strongest antioxidant activity in DPPH radical scavenging assay and superoxide radical inhibition assay.
• Sesquiterpenoid Glucosides: Three new sesquiterpenoid glucosides, pumilasides A, B and C were isolated from the fruit of F pumila.
• Antimicrobial / Antimutagenic Activity / Furanocoumarin Derivatives: Study isolated 2 compounds – bergapten and oxypeucedanin hydrate. Bercapten inhibited the growth of S aureus, E coli, S typhi. Oxypeucedanin inhibited the growth of S typhi. On antimutagenic testing, both reduced the number of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes induced by mitocin C, bercapten by 44% and oxypeucedanin hydrate by 74%.