Inexplicable Ficus love affair

We Southern Californians seem to have a love affair with the Ficus benjamina tree despite their dubious merits, their inappropriate size for most yards, their poor wildlife value, little attention to their care and placement, and their invasive roots.  Although these are nice trees when confined to pots indoors, they are more often than not considered free range trees or become feral when the pot is moved outside and the tap root finds its way out the bottom of the pot.  Even blog mill E-How thinks that they are excellent indoors, but does not claim any outdoor uses.

Is that an alien spacecraft landing in North Redondo?  Nope, but the tree is just about as big as the 1950's era house that it eclipses.  In other words, too big.

This tree may not be all that old.  Just a handful of years are sufficient for significant growth.  I'd hate to own that house and be responsible for keeping the roots out of the sewer, the leaves off the neighbor's lawn, the damage from branches off my roof, etc.

This guy doubled down on trouble.  What is it about these trees that's so appealing? 

This one is planted (or escaped) so close to the front entry that it's created a real hazard for the home. See the trunk at the right of the tilted stairway? See the giant surface root to the right of the walkway?  The walkway has already once been chamfered at a broken edge where it lifted up.  Unfortunately, it kept on lifting. Watch out! It looks like it's growing out of your foundation! Notable on this one are its seeds

Here's the same tree. It's growing right into the eave of the house.  Nice.  You couldn't see that coming, Mr. Homeowner?  This is the second large tree in your front yard, though the only Ficus - I guess you didn't think that one large tree was enough?  In the trade, I would guess that reputable Ficus producers would limit their trees to male ones only, but this one has seeds, so it looks to be a swap meet special or the descendent of a swap meet special. 

In an potentially analogous situation, initial importers of pampas grass brought only female plants to California.  (The plant was prized for its flower stalks in the floral industry.)  However, a male plant or two snuck in and the result is that we went from a non-reproducing import to an invasive nuisance in the wild all in the space of a few tens of years.

Just don't plant these trees.  They aren't appropriate for (or kind to) most residential lots in Southern California.

Note: Figs turn out to be both genetically and sexually interesting plants to study. 
The fruit (syconium or fig) and reproduction systems of species in the genus Ficus are unique. Each species of Ficus has an associated species of agaonid wasp (Hymenoptera: Chalcoidea: Agaonidae). Ficus species can only be pollinated by their associated agaonid wasps and in turn, the wasps can only lay eggs within their associated Ficus fruit. For successful pollination and reproduction of Ficus species to occur, its associated pollinator wasp must be present. Conversely, for successful reproduction of agaonid wasps to occur, their associated Ficus species must be present (Janzen 1979).ref

More surprisingly, fig sexual determination isn't the normal XX/XY type of genetics.  It may be that only 3/24ths of figs grown from seed are female.  ref

Ficus has a potential to be invasive.

- Posted at great expense from my iPhone

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