CAVE FIG Ficus cavernicola  Berg (2003))    SECTION KISSOSYCEA                   

Latin: Cave fig – Named after the Mesilau Cave, located at 1,800m on Kinabalu. Used by many early botanists as a staging post on their botanical explorations, the Mesilau Cave is the type location for many of Kinabalu’s endemic plants possibly due to the ultramafic soils in the vicinity.

Plant: A rare root climber which has only been collected once near the Mesilau cave on Kinabalu.

Leaf: Small leaves 5-6 cm long x 3-3.5 cm wide. The lateral veins are impressed (sunken) above giving the upper surface of the leaf a corrugated appearance.  

Sex: Dioecious.

Fig: The medium size figs (2-2.5cm) have a very short peduncle (stalk) up to 0.3cm long.

Similar species: F.disticha.

Distinguish: From F. disticha by the corrugated upper leaf surface.

Distribution: Only one record from the Mesilau Cave a 15 minute walk from the Mesialu Station of Kinabalu Park.

Cavernicola L0491061_HERB.jpg
Ficus cavernicola TYPE held at the Leiden Herbarium.
P1060120.JPG
The Mesialu “Cave”. The roof is blackened by the smoke of many camp fires built by early botanical explorers before the Kinabalu Park buildings were constructed nearby.