Scientific name: Ficus coronata
Common names: Sandpaper fig or Creek sandpaper fig
Overview: Ficus coronata is a species of fig tree, native to Australia. It is found along the east coast from Mackay in Central Queensland, through New South Wales and just into Victoria near Mallacoota. It grows along river banks and gullies in rainforest and open forest. Its common name is derived from its rough sandpapery leaves, which it shares with the other sandpaper figs.
Birds are attracted to the fruit. food plant for the caterpillars of the Purple Moonbeam butterfly (Philiris innotatus)
Historically many groups of indigenous people from mainland Australia ate these figs. Some were eaten raw and others were beaten to make a paste and then mixed with honey and water.
In bush medicine the sandpaper fig leaves were used in conjunction with stinking passion flower to relieve insect bites. The rough texture of the leaves would be used to rub the skin until it bled, and then the passion flower would be applied. The leaves of the Sandpaper Fig were also used as a cure for ringworm infections. The skin would again be rubbed raw with the leaves and the milky sap applied. This sap was additionally useful for treating wounds.
Indigenous people used the rough sandpapery texture of the leaves to finish off their tools and polish their wooden boomerangs and spears. Straight branches were used for fire starter sticks and string could also be made from the bark .
It provides food, medicine, fire and tools: a wonderful all-rounder in the Australian plant pantheon.