Ficus francisci illustration  from Berg & Corner (2005)

FRANZ’S FIG Ficus francisci Winkler (1913)              SECTION:  SYCOCARPUS    

Latin: Named after Franz the brother of H. Winkler, a German botanist who collected plants in Borneo in 1908.

Plant: A small tree of wet forest from the lowlands to around 1,400m on Kinabalu.

Leaves:  The leaves  and petiole are covered in short hairs both above and below.

Sex: Dioecious (separate male and female trees). Note that with dioecious figs, male figs only produce fig wasps and  only female figs produce seeds. Male figs are never eaten by animals and either  rot on the tree or on the ground.

Fig. The ridged figs grow in small bunches and on short stolons near the base of the trunk.

Similar species: F. cereicarpa.  .

Distinguish: By the cauliferous,distinctively shaped,  longitudinally ridged figs which look very different from the large figs of F.cereicarpa-although both grow at ground level. The leaves of F. cereicarpa are about twice the size of F .francisci.

Distribution:  A scarce, wet forest, Borneo endemic, absent from most of Kalimantan. Corner describes this tree as a characteristic fig of sluggish, lowland rivers in Borneo.

Sabah:  Beaman (2004) lists two records from Kinabalu, one from the Mamut River at 1,200m and another from the Mesilau River at 1,400m.  On the Crocker Range, we found this fig to be scarce on damp slopes up to 1,000m growing in the forest understorey.

Brunei: Widespread in Brunei “near fresh running water” including  Bukit Sawat, Bukit Belalong, Ladan Hills and Sg Tutong (Coode et al 1996) .

Sarawak: Anderson (1980) records this tree as “Locally occasional on fertile alluvial soils, sometimes riparian, throughout Sarawak”. One record from Bau near Kuching.  At Lambir (N. Sarawak) the 8th commonest fig in the 52 ha plot with 54 individuals.

Kalimantan:  Locally common West Kutai and Sg Belayan East Kalimantan.  There are no records  on the west coast of Borneo south of Sarawak or south of the Sg Mahakam in E. Kalimantan.