Tai Chi Plaza or Fig Central in Singapore

 Up to 100 tai chi enthusiasts can be seen daily doing early morning exercises at Tai Chi Plaza in the Singapore Botanic Gardens underneath a grove of five different fig trees including F. superba (illustrated), F. benjamina, F. kerkhovenii, Ficus benghalensis and Ficus religiosa. Fig trees are believed to enhance the flow of vital bodily energy “chi” or “qi.” providing an extra early morning energy boost to the keen participants

Ficus superba IMG_0955.JPG
Ficus superba has a strange distribution from southern Japan south to Australia mainly on small islands including the Natuna Islands in the middle of the South China Sea. Ficus superba is absent from the largest wet Sunda islands of Sumatra and Borneo but does occur on the much less humid island of Java. The most likely reason is pest pressure from a pest that thrives in wet humid forest. This could be a fungus or an insect or even a leaf eating primate.

Ficus superba IMG_0953.JPG

Ficus superba _8425.JPG

Ficus superba map.jpg
This map from Berg & Corner (2005) shows the very curious distribution of Ficus superba which has not yet been found on the mainland of Sumatra and Borneo although it almost certainly occurs on some of the offshore islands.

Natuna Islands