ENDOSPERMIFOLIA Ficus endospermifolia Corner (1960) SECTION: ERIOSYCEA
Latin: Refers to the leaf shape as being similar to the leaves of Endospermum a small tree in the Euphorbiaceae, common in secondary forests.
Plant: Medium tree to 25 m found in open areas on mountain slopes often in secondary forest. The leaf is a very distinctive heart shape.
Fig: The large fig 1.5-2.5 cm is covered in very short hairs and looks similar to the fig of Ficus brunneoaurata but is slightly larger. The fig ripens from green to yellow brown.
Leaf: A very distinctive large heart shaped leaf which as with many other Moraceae may be lobed (palmate) when the plant is young.
Similar species. Ficus eumorpha lives in the same montane habitat and also sometimes has heart shaped leaves but they are always densely covered in short hairs whereas Ficus endospermifolia leaves are smooth above (glaborous). F. endospermifolia has a striking large orange/red stipule whereas F. eumorpha has a short stubby brown stipule.
Ficus brunneoaurata also has a striking orange red stipule but the leaf is shaped like a broad spear blade not a heart as with Ficus endospermifolia. Note that both Ficus aurata and Ficus fulva have pale green stipules not orange red or brown stipules.
Distribution: Confined to the hills and mountains of Sabah from c. 1,000 -1,800 m., where it replaces F. brunneoaurata at levels above c.1,000 m. For example F. endospermifolia is common along the access road to the summit of Gunung Alab (1,964 m) the highest point accessible by road in the Crocker Range.
F. endospermifolia is one of the most common figs in the forest surrounding Kinabalu Park HQ and along the road to the Timpohon gate (2,000) at the start of the Kinabalu summit trail. The area around the Kiau Gap view point (Lumu Lumu) parking lot is particularly rich in figs including F. endospermifolia, F. eumorpha and F. malayana.
Kiau Gap is where G.H. Wood the Conservator of Forests in 1954 collected the specimen from which J.H. Corner later described the type.
There is only one collection south of the Sabah border from the summit of Gng Pagon on the border of Brunei and Sarawak (S.47783). Another record from Ulu Anap. Tatau District in the hills of Sarawak (S.17688) was later described by Berg as a new species Ficus auricoma with only two collections known. The two species are easily distinguished in the field because F. endospermifolia has a striking almost hairless orange-red-brown stipule whilst the stipule of F. auricoma is covered in dense golden hairs.