Ficus inaequipetiolata is an unusual fig with unusual habits. The leaves and fruit have a resemblance to Ficus aurata but the plant itself is a very thin small straggling shrub which may grow in the forest undestorey but is often found almost hidden in roadside vegetation especially in areas of poor soil such as Bukit Cina FR, Sandakan or on Gunung Silam, an ultramafic hill in East Sabah. All photos in this article were taken by Linus Gokusing of an individual plant growing on Gng Silam.
Ficus inaequipetiolata  with unripe  “green” figs. F. inaequipetiolata is one 13 figs species (12 endemic) in SECTION ERIOSYCEA with sharp hairs surrounding the flowers/seeds inside the fig. It is almost as if these figs evolved defences so that they will be rejected by birds. But what then disperses the seeds if the figs themselves are inedible.  One possible hypothesis is that these figs are anachronistic fruit and originally evolved as specialist rhino dispersed plants during the millions of years when several species of rhinos were abundant throughout in Borneo.
Ficus inaequipetiolata. Notice the very short basal veins. This fig was frequently confused with Ficus aurata in the past
Ficus inaequipetiolata, Gunung Silam, Sabah.


Ficus inaequipetiolata.
Inaequipetiolata Bukit Silam labelled as brunneoaurata Naturalis 001372861-L.1596023.jpg
Ficus inaequipetiolata  collected from Gunung Silam but labelled as Ficus brunneoaurata in the SAN herbarium. Note the very short basal veins !