ABOVE:  A young Ficus auriculata  fig tree photographed at the Paginatan Dii  resort near Sandakan

ROXBURGH’S FIG Ficus auriculata Lour (1790)                           SECTION: NEOMORPH

Common name: Refers to the  “founder ” of Indian botany Sir William Roxburgh.

Latin: Auricle is the Latin for ear referring to the two ears at the base of the heart shaped (cordate) leaf.

Habit: A small to medium sized tree (to 15 m) with a domed shape  and large leaves with a heart shaped leaf base.

Sex: Dioecious (separate male and female trees).

See also this link on differences  between male and female figs.

Leaves: Large heart shaped leaves 10-30 cm long by 7-25 m wide with a cordate base and a long petiole (leaf stalk)  up to 30 cm long.

Fig: The large figs (4-10 cm) grow in bunches from short branches on the trunk, on long peduncles up to 8 cm long. Figs ripen green, to red brown. They are edible and this is one of a very few Asian figs grown for it’s edible fruits.

Similar species: At least 8 species of Bornean figs produce large green figs from the trunk but this is one of only three species including F. racemosa and F. variegata where the fig turns reddish on ripening.

Distinguish:. As this tree is not native to Borneo it is only seen in cultivation where it is currently uncommon in most areas. Distinguish by the shape and size of the very large leaves.

Distribution: Often cultivated for it’s edible figs on the Asian continent, but uncommon in Borneo where it has been introduced.

Sabah: The only examples we have seen grow in the garden of the Rainforest Discovery Center at Sepilok and at the Paginatan Dii Resort near Sandakan, (photo above) but other examples undoubtedly exist.

Brunei: Occasionally seen in gardens and orchards throughout Brunei.

Sarawak: Occasional in cultivation.

Range: Pakistan, India  to S. China south to the Malay Peninsula.

Ficus auriculata.jpg
Illustration by E J H Corner

Ficus auriculata  Sepilok MG-20190816-WA0020.jpg

IMG-20190816-WA0022 - Copy.jpg
These two photographs of ripe Ficus auriculata figs taken at the Rainforest Discovery Center garden at Sepilok  by George Hong appear to show the presence of ripe seeds indicating that  the pollinating fig wasp of Ficus auriculata may be present in Sabah  but the viability of the seeds has yet to be tested and as yet no one has reported the presence of male trees in Sabah.