GOLDEN LEAF FIG Ficus subgelderi  Blume (1825)  SECTION CONOSYCEA

Latin: Similar to Ficus pellucido-punctata (previously Ficus gelderi). Geld=gold..

Habit: Large hemi-epiphyte to 30m, locally common in lowland mixed dipterocarp forest throughout Borneo. At Lambir Hills, Harrison et al (2003) described the characteristic growth habits of 30 individuals as being medium size hemi-epiphytes  growing in the sub-canopy with an average attachment height of 21 m. i.e. Ficus subgelderi is not a strangler with multiple roots enclosing the trunk of the host tree but a canopy epiphytes with  at least one large root reaching the ground.

Leaf: The medium size oval leaves are smooth and glossy above with prominent veins on the underneath. Dried leaves are a shiny gold on the upper surface

Fig: Medium size fig 0.8-1.2 cm (dry). The figs ripen green, orange, red.

Sex: Monoecious.

Similar species: Ficus sundaica and Ficus pellucidopunctata.


(1) Both F.sundaica and Ficus subgelderi have prominent basal veins but the tertiary veins (in between the side veins) of Ficus subgelderi are more prominent and reticulate (in boxes). In Ficus sundaica the tertiary venation is obscure and parallel to the side veins.

(2) Ficus pellocidopunctata has an open ostiole (closed in Ficus subgelderi).

(3) F. subgelderi has a hairy stipule unique amongst the Conosycea strangling figs but common in other fig sections.

Distribution: Generally scarce but locally common in lowland forests throughout Borneo.

Sabah: Sandakan, Not found on Kinabalu (Beaman, 2004)

Brunei: A fruiting individual grows next to the first canopy tower of the Belalong Canopy Walkway in Temburong.

Sarawak: Lambir Hills- the second most common Conosycea fig-see below.

Kalimantan: Gng Palung.

Range: Vietnam south to the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo.

The  15 most common Conosycea figs of Lambir Hills NP (Miri) in order of abundance. (Harrison 2003)

1 Delosyce 6 Dubia 11 Subcordata
2 Subgelderi 7 Stupenda 12 Retusa
3 Xylophylla 8 Binnendijkii 13 Consociata
4 Kerkhovenii 9 Pisocarpa 14 Benjamina
5 Acamptophylla 10 Cucurbitina 15 Virens
Subgelderi TYPE SINGAPORE KEW 602249.jpg
Ficus subgelderi . The TYPE was collected in Singapore  in  1935 in the grounds of Government House by E.J.H. Corner the founding father of SE Asian fig taxonomy. At that time Corner was working as an assistant in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.