Pulau Punyit, a small island photographed from the Empire Resort at Jerudong, Brunei. “ Two figs Ficus delosyce and Ficus globosa occurred on the island. Ficus delosyce was found only at the spring high tide mark , whilst Ficus globosa was represented by two large individuals at the summit of the island. Several well grown individuals of Chionanthus ramiflorus (Oleaceae) were also observed under the canopy of the forest formed principally by Diospyros maritime and Ficus delosyce” Booth, W.E., Wong K.M. , Kamariah, A.S., Choy, S., and I. Das (1997) A survey of the flora and fauna of Pulau Punyet, Brunei Darussalam. In Sandakania No.9 January 1997.
A close up of the small island of Pulau Punyit opposite the Empire Resort at Jerudong, Brunei. The vegetation is dominated by Ficus delosyce and Ficus globosa-but see the Taxonomic Note below.
STRIKING FIG Ficus delosyce Corner (1960) SECTION: CONOSYCEA
Greek: Striking fig tree.
Plant: Medium sized hemi-epiphyte to 25m. Believed to be a small understory hemi-epiphytic fig of lowland primary.
Leaf: Small and leathery with indistinct veins except for a distinct pair of basal veins. The leaf was described by Berg (2005) as indistinguishable from some varieties of Ficus sumatrana. Note that Ficus sumatrana has a flat ostiole so the peaked shape of the ostiole in F. delosyce is the only certain way of distinguishing F. delosyce from F. sumatrana.
Fig: The tiny figs (0.4-0.7cm) grow in pairs in the leaf axils at the ends of the branches. The apex of the fig around the ostiole is narrowed with pointed bracts. Figs ripen green to white to pale yellow.
Similar species: See Taxonomic Note below.
Distinguish: By the small figs with pointed bracts surrounding the ostiole.
Distribution: Recorded throughout the lowland forests of Borneo. In coastal districts most likely replaced by Ficus microcarpa.
Sabah: Recorded growing as a 25m tree in sandstone forest on Gaya Island opposite Kota Kinabalu but scarce on the mainland opposite. Also recorded from peat swamp forest at Beaufort and Bongawan in west Sabah, kerangas forest near Keningau and Bukit Silam on ultramafic soil near Lahad Datu. Some of these records are doubtful. See below.
Brunei: A common fig of coastal forest in Brunei especially the Belait peat swamp forest. A botanical survey of Pulau Punyit a small island opposite the Empire Resort at Jerudong (Brunei) found that several F. delosyce figs were growing along the high tide mark. In contrast the center of the island is dominated by two large Ficus globosa figs trees .
Sarawak: The commonest strangler in forest at Lambir NP Sarawak (Harrison), but Anderson (1963) did not record it in his survey of peat swamp forest in Brunei and Sarawak. He later (1980) stated that it was a rare inhabitant of coastal mixed dipterocarp forest in Brunei and Sarawak.
Kalimantan: At Gng Palung, W. Kalimantan, Laman (1998) found that it was an uncommon inhabitant of freshwater swamp forest along rivers. Several records from the Mentoko and Segatta Rivers, Kutai, East Kalimantan
Range: Malay Peninsula (rare) in Johore at Sg Sedili peat swamp forest, Banka, Borneo.
TAXONOMIC NOTE: Ang et al (2014) Rediscovery in Singapore of Ficus delosyce Corner is most likely to be referring to Ficus microcarpa. The only significant differences between the two species are as follows;
1. The fig wasp pollinator of F. delosyce is believed to be Waterstoniella delicata Wiebes (night flying) whilst the fig wasp pollinator of F. microcarpa is believed to be Eupristina verticiliata (day flying).
2. F. microcarpa produces large numbers of aerial roots some of which attach to the ground whilst F. delosyce does not.
3. The midrib of F. delosyce is supposed to be flat to sunken whilst the midrib of F. microcarpa is supposed to be flat to raised. In fact F. microcarpa is so variable it is easy to find examples with sunken midribs.
4. The bracts of the ostiole of F. microcarpa are flat to slightly raised whilst the bracts of F. delosyce are prominently peaked.
On the preliminary evidence available it is likely that many sterile Borneo collections of F. delosyce are miss-identified and are in fact F. microcarpa.