Ficus subgelderi is a typical hemi-epiphyte member of the Ficus Section Conosyceae, which grow as epiphytes in the canopy with one or more long roots connecting them to the ground. Ficus subgelderi has two important features which distinguish this fig from other members of Section Conosycea. (1) The stipules (the loose covering of new leaf glowing orange in the photo) are covered in short hairs. Whilst this is common with other Ficus Sections it is unique to Ficus subgelderi in Section Conosycea. (2) Members of Section Conosycea typically have smooth glossy surfaces to the upper leaf a method of conserving water at canopy height. However the upper surface of the leaves of F. subgelderi are exceptionally smooth and glossy. The dry leaves in a herbarium are instantly recognizable by their glossy “golden” appearance, hence the Latin name which means “similar to gold”.
The Belalong Canopy Walkway at Ulu Temburong National Park in Brunei.