ABOVE: Ficus fulva leaves by Corner (1970)  showing palmate juvenile leaf on the left and the normal standard leaf on the right with a long straight pair of basal veins.

FULVUS FIG Ficus fulva  Reinw. Ex Blume (1825)                              SECT. ERIOSYCEA

Latin: Fulvous= deep yellow brown

Habit: A common small secondary forest tree to 20 m often growing along roadsides  in wetter areas but usually less common than Ficus aurata in more open dry locations such as cultivation and edge of towns. Both leaves and figs are more or less covered in hairs.

Leaf: Large hairy leaves with prominent venation.  Young leaves may be palmate or lobed but this is also true of F. aurata and F. brunneoaurata. Standard leaves normally have 4-7 pairs of side veins. The  basal pair  usually run straight from the base up to 2/3 the length of the leaf (see below).

Sex: Dioecious  (Monosexual,  with separate male and female trees)

Fig fruits: The figs are hairy and may be faintly ribbed longitudinally. Female figs ripen green to bright orange and shrink on ripening. Male figs ripen green to pale yellow and  expand on ripening. See below.

Similar Species:

Ficus aurata:  (1) Has basal veins  which lie close to the leaf margin. The basal veins of F. fulva  tend to run straight up at an angle of c. 45%  from the base.  (2) Ficus aurata, tepals are replaced by stiff white hairs whilst F. fulva tepals are red and fleshy. See illustrations below.

Ficus brunneoaurata: Has an orange/reddish stipule. The stipules of both F. aurata and F. fulva are green turning brown before they fall.

Ecology: The first fig to arrive on the bare rocky lava of the  Krakatau islands in 1896, after sterilization by the 1883 volcanic explosion. The phenology  at Lambir Hills, Sarawak was studied by Harrison during a period that included a severe El Nino drought in 1998.

Borneo: Common throughout in primary forest gaps and secondary forest to c. 1,500 m.

Range:  Nicobar Islands, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi,  Java to Timor.

01 Ficus fulva Kipandi 3P7A1596 - Copy.JPG
Ficus fulva male figs expand and turn pale yellow on ripening. Photo taken at Kipandi in the Crocker Range.
01 Ficus fulva female 3Y3A0344.JPG
Ficus fulva female figs  shrink and turn bright orange on ripening. Photo taken at Bidanu waterfall in Brunei (Meriuk Farm Stay in Tutong).