Ficus kochummeniana collected Anduki Forest Reserve Brunei. Specimen in Naturalis  (Leiden Herbarium)


Latin: Honors the Malaysian botanist K.M. Kochummen “Koch” author of (Moraceae) in the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak Vol. 4 (2000).

Plant: Medium size strangler (to 30 m). A locally common fig of coastal peat-swamp and poor kerangas soils in the lowlands with a patchy distribution. One of a very few Bornean figs in Section Conosycea  which may sometimes  have persistent stipules (dried bracts) on the terminal branches (see links below) .

Sex: Dioecious.

Leaves: Medium sized oblong leaves 4-15 cm long by 1.5-6 cm wide with a petiole up to 2.5 cm. The veins above are impressed (sunken) giving a corrugated appearance to the leaf. The venation below is very prominent with the distinctive basal veins running very close to the leaf margin usually to half or more the length of the leaf.

Fig: Small figs 0.8-1.2 cm diameter. Figs ripen orange to red. “The fig is unique in that the styles completely fill the fig interior and form a column leading to the ostiole where pollinators are trapped in a small cavity below the ostiolar bracts” Laman & Weiblen (1998). The figs may occur in dense conglomerations along the bare branches as well as in the leaf axils.

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The rare Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker  Prionochilus thoracicus which also inhabits areas with poor soils often feeds on the ripe figs of Ficus kochummeniana.

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Note that the ripe fig to the left of the flowerpecker’s body has a sunken ostiole. This is a feature characteristic  of Ficus bracteata. Photo by Jimmy Pan taken at the Panti Forest Reserve  in Johore.

Similar species: F. paracamptophylla F. bracteata  and sometimes F. annulata also have persistent stipules.


(1) By the differing growth habit. F. kochummeniana grows as a strangling tree rather than climber whereas F. paracamptophylla, F. annulata and F. bracteata all grow as climbers.

(2) By the distinctive venation of the basal veins on  both sides of the  leaf as described above.

(3) Only two figs  in Section Conosycea have both sunken side veins and sunken tertiary veins on the upper side of the leaf. These are Ficus forstenii and Ficus kochummeniana. The leaves of Ficus forstenii are much larger than those of Ficus kocuummeniana so they are very difficult to confuse.

Distribution: Widespread and locally common in coastal and poor soil forest throughout Borneo. Numerous records from coastal W. Sabah, coastal Brunei and Bako near Kuching with scattered records from elsewhere. Sabah: Beluran, Sg Imbak, Papar,

Brunei: Ulu Belalong, Tasek Merimbun. Belait.

Sarawak: Telok Gador, Bako

Kalimantan: Berau (Kaltel)

Range: Thailand. Malaya, Western Sumatra, Borneo. Critically endangered in Singapore where it is listed as Ficus retusa in Chong et al (2009). Frequent in Panti Forest Reserve, Johore.

Taxonomy: prior to Berg (2005) this fig was known as Ficus retusa var borneensis and is so listed in Corner (1960), Laman & Weiblen (1998) and Harrison’s numerous publications on the figs of Lambir.


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Ficus kochummeniana mistakenly listed as Ficus retusa. Ficus retusa would have a rounded apex to the leaf and the under surface of the leaf would not have such prominent venation.