SUBSIDENS Ficus subsidens Corner (1960)                                  SECTION: SYCIDIUM

Latin: sunken hole, referring to the open ostiole.

Habit: Small creeping shrub found on landslides and in small stream beds in montane forest.  When ripe the seeds fall from the open ostiole, so that they can be dispersed by flowing water, a rare dispersal system for figs in Borneo only shared with a few other species, e.g. Ficus montana, Ficus sandanakana and Ficus macrostyla.

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: Small distinctive figs (1 cm) with a lobed rim round an open ostiole. The figs ripen pink to red.

Similar species: According to Berg (2005) the closest relative is the extremely rare Ficus sandanakana. (Note that this was a rare mistake by Berg. Ficus sandanakana is a synonym for Ficus inaequipetiolata).  

Distinguish: By the habitat along mountain streams, the curiously shaped figs with an open ostiole and the large toothed leaf attached to a rooting branch.

Distribution: A rare montane fig of forest stream banks, endemic to Kinabalu and the Crocker Range between 1,200-1,500 m.

Range: According to Berg the Ficus montana group has African and Madagascan origins.

04 Map Subsidens and montana - WEB.jpg
Ficus  subsidens is endemic to streams in montane forest on Kinabalu and the Crocker Range in Sabah (black dot)  whilst   the closest relative Ficus montana is widespread in the lowlands (dash line).