GOLDEN BROWN FIG Ficus brunneoaurata Corner (1960) SECTION: ERIOSYCEA
Latin: Golden brown, presumably referring to the tiny golden brown hairs on the twigs.
Plant: Small tree to 16 m with spirally arranged hairy leaves and twigs. Leaves are similar to Ficus fulva and like Ficus fulva may be palmate especially in juveniles. Most common in the hills but much less common than F. fulva and F. aurata in the lowlands.
Fig: Medium sized round, sessile (without stalks) figs (1.3- 2.0 cm) covered in dense very short hairs. Male figs ripen pale yellow with stiff long hairs whilst female figs ripen reddish and appear hairless. From photographs female figs appear to expand on ripening whilst male figs appear to shrink- the opposite of Ficus fulva but this needs confirmation.
Similar species: The leaves look very similar to those of Ficus fulva and like Ficus fulva this fig has one or more pairs of waxy glands at the base of the leaf blade (lamina). Note that with Ficus aurata there are usually no obvious glands.
Distinguish: Compared with F. aurata and F. fulva (1) By the distinctive appearance of the large round green immature fig fruit without obvious hairs. (2) The stipule in the living plant is red/ orange whilst F. aurata and F. fulva have pale green stipules turning pale brown before they fall.
In Borneo, only 3 Section Eriosycea figs have prominent, large, almost hairless, orange/red brown stipules; Ficus brunneoaurata, F. endospermifolia and F. bruneiensis. All are endemic to Borneo and have relatively small, local distributions.
Borneo Distribution: Endemic to Borneo. Widely scattered throughout the primary and secondary forests of western Borneo south to the Kapuas river in West Kalimantan but nearly always less common than Ficus aurata and Ficus fulva.
Sabah: First collected by C. E. Carr at the Mentendok Gorge on the western slopes of Kinabalu. Locally common in open gaps in wet hill forest along with F. aurata and F. fulva. Rare in the lowlands. Most common in the hills up to 1,100 m, e.g. Kokol Ridge near Kota Kinabalu and Kipandi in the Crocker Range.
Brunei: Ulu Temburong
Sarawak: At Lambir less than 1/20 as common as F. fulva and F. aurata. Locally common at Semengoh and Matang near Kuching.
Kalimantan: Locally common at Serawai, Gunung Kelam and Bukit Tekenang at Danau Sentarum in West Kalimantan but no records from Gng Palung, or anywhere in the rest of Kalimantan.
The large orange red stipule easily distinguishes this fig from Ficus fulva and Ficus aurata which have pale green stipules.