FICUS HISPIDA L. (1782) SECTION SYCOCARPUS
Latin: Hairy referring to the hairy figs, leaves and leaf stalks.
Plant: Small tree to 17 m. In Borneo confined to secondary forest in E. Kalimantan.
Leaf: Large 5-25 cm (but up to 35 cm) long by 2.5-10 cm wide, normally symmetric. The leaf margin may be more or less toothed (dentate) with short hairs along the edge. This one of only two Bornean figs known to have opposite leaves. See Ficus cumingii.
Fig: The medium sized figs (1-3cm) grow in bunches on leafless shoots emanating from the trunk sometimes in hanging curtains. See F. treubii which has smaller figs. Figs ripen greenish yellow and are dispersed primarily by small fruit bats and also by palm civets.
Ecology: A common fig in the drier areas of SE Asia including Java where it is abundant. In Borneo possibly introduced or a relic of a dryer climate in the past.
Similar species: (1) F. fistulosa, (2) F. septica, (3) F. lepicarpa (4) F. rosulata and (5) F. satterthwatei are all common bat figs which ripen green.
Distinguish: By the hairy green figs, leaves and leaf stalks and the opposite (decussate) leaves and the very local restricted distribution in Borneo.
Distribution: In Borneo the only records are from secondary forest on the east coast between Balikpapan north to Kutai. Also on the Natuna and Anamba Islands (South China Sea) between Borneo and Singapore.
Range: Sri Lanka, India east to China, south to Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and east to New Guinea and Northern Australia. First recorded in Singapore in 1999 and now known from four areas of secondary forest. Lee et al (2013) regard F. hispida as an exotic plant in an early phase of naturalizing in Singapore possibly a relic of earlier cultivation.
Ficus hispida distribution map from Berg & Corner (2005). Note that more recent records indicate that Ficus hispida occurs also in the Darwin area of Northern Australia and northern Western Australia, Singapore and E. Borneo.