Illustration above from Corner (1976) Climbing Species of Ficus Derivation and Evolution
SPADE LEAF FIG Ficus excavata King (1888) SECTION RHIZOCLADUS
Latin: Hollowed in a curve presumably referring to the spade shaped leaves.
Habits: An uncommon but widespread root climber up tree trunks with distinctively shaped leaves and tiny figs. The leaf varies from hairy to hairless and there may be more than one species involved.
Leaf: A small variable shaped leaf usually with a rounded base and pointed tip similar to the shape of a spade 1-4.5 cm wide by 0.5-3.5 cm long. As with all root climbers during the growth phase these leaves are tightly pressed against the tree trunk gripped tightly by the roots. The undersurface of the leaf is dotted with tiny pits (foveolate).
Fig:. One of Borneo’s smallest figs 0.3-0.5 cm in pairs or small clusters on the branches without stalks (sessile), which ripen red.
Similar species: Eight Borneo species of root climbing figs have foveolate (pitted) leaves on the underside. Only Ficus excavata has small spade shaped leaves.
Distinguish by the small spade shaped leaves foveolate on the underside.
Distribution: Leiden Herbarium has only five Borneo collections, one from Gunung Lumaku in SW Sabah, two from N. Sarawak, one from Gng Penrissen near Kuching and one from East Kalimantan.
RANGE: Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo.
Section Rhizocladus figs with foveolate holes (tiny pits) on the underside of the leaf.
|excavata||Hill forest||Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo|
|lanata||Hill forest||Sumatra. Java, Borneo|
|supperforata||Swamp forest||Borneo endemic|
Ficus excavata photos by Linus Gokusing from hill forest at Kuamut in the headwaters catchment of the mighty Kinabatangan River in East Sabah.