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.
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.