FICUS RUBROMIDOTIS Corner (1960) SECTION: SYCIDIUM
Greek: Red wine jug – referring to the similarity of the fig to a traditional terracotta Grecian wine jug.
Habit: Small shrub or terrestrial climber to 5 m common in wet rocky forest throughout Sarawak.
Very large leaves 20-36 cm but up to 34 cm long by 5-12 cm wide with a smooth surface and a wavy but entire (even) leaf edge. The leaves are in flat sprays (distichous) and almost symmetric with a distinctive “auricle” on one side of the leaf base with 10-20 pairs of steeply ascending side veins. The petiole is short to 1 cm long but not absent.
Tiny figs (0.6-1 cm) grow in dense clusters on the trunk or branches. The figs hang from short peduncles up to 0.5 cm long. Figs ripen bright scarlet red.
Ecology: Prefers wet rocky forest along rivers or on limestone hills where it grows on over rocks.
Similar species: F. midotis. According to Berg & Corner (2005) these two figs can be distinguished as follows;
(1) By location – F. rubromidotis does not occur away from the hills of Sarawak and Brunei whereas F. midotis is found throughout Borneo. In Brunei and Sarawak the two species overlap.
(2) F. rubromidotis has 10-20 leaf veins compared with 8-13 pairs for F. midotis. The edge of the leaf with F. midotis is waved and also slightly toothed or dentate but with F. rubromidotis the leaf edge is wavy but not dentate.
(3) With F. rubromidotis the midrib and side veins on the leaf are prominent above NOT flat or sunken as with Ficus midotis. Note that with both species the leaves are bullate or corrugated above in photos – although this may not show clearly in herbarium collections.
(4) The stipules are smooth in F. midotis but slightly hairy to smooth in F. rubromidotis. Note: I could not find any significant differences. They appear to be short and hairy in both species.
(5) The leaf scars are semi-amplexicaul (not encircling the twig) with F. midotis but fully amplexicaul (fully encircling the twig) with F. rubromidotis.
Range: Endemic to Borneo. Common throughout the hills of Sarawak and Brunei. Also recorded from West and Central Kalimantan. No records from Sabah or E Borneo.