HOOKED FIG Ficus recurva Blume (1825) SECTION: RHIZOCLADUS
Latin: Hooked – referring to the uncinate (hooked) hairs on the leaves , fig and twigs.
Habit: An extremely variable and common Rhizocladus root climber with two very different types of leaves accrophylls and bathyphylls.
Leaf: As with other Section Rhizocladus root climbing figs, Ficus recurva is most often encountered in the juvenile phase with the lower bathyphyll (juvenile phase) leaves pressed against a trunk.
Fig: The small figs (0.5-1.2 cm) ripen orange to red. The figs are extremely variable and may be stipitate, stalked or sessile and may occur in clusters of up to 12 on the twigs.
Similar species: .F villosa, F. sagittata and F. urnigera.
Distinguish: (1) Both F.villosa and F. sagittata have 6-10 side veins on the acrophylls whereas F. recurva only has 3-6 side veins (2) The hairs on F. recurva are always more or less uncinate (hooked at the tips) as shown in the drawing. The only other Rhizocladus hairy fig with uncinata hairs is F. urnigera which can be easily distinguished by the flattened shape of the mature fig. Note that in the field you will need a 10x lens to see the hooked hairs on both species.
Distribution: Herbarium collections show that F. recurva is the commonest hairy Rhizocadus root climbing fig in Borneo. On Kinabalu the 5th commonest fig. overall Beaman (2004). Range: From Thailand south to Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Philippines.
Taxonomy: Berg (2005) describes 5 different varieties of Ficus recurva in Borneo.
(1) var recurva (2) var eleganitor (3) var pedicella (4) var ribesioides (5) var. urnigera. Later in Berg (2011) variety urnigera was raised to the status of a separate species-which we deal with separately.