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.

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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.

STRIKING FIG  Ficus delosyce  Corner (1960)    SECTION: CONOSYCEA

Greek: Striking fig tree.

Plant: Medium sized hemi-epiphyte to 25m. Locally common in peat swamp and coastal districts.

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 pale yellow.

Sex: Monoecious

Similar species: The dried fig fruits in herbarium collections are similar to the fig fruits of Ficus spathulifolia which also have a pointed ostiole. When sterile (not fruiting)  the leaves may be confused with any of the small leaved stranglers such as Ficus borneensis and Ficus sumatrana.

Distinguish: By the small figs with pointed bracts surrounding the ostiole and the small penniveined leaves with distinct basal veins.

Distribution: Widespread throughout the lowland forests of Borneo but only locally common particularly in areas of poor soil.

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.

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 centre 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. Absent from Singapore.

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Collected from Sungai Lumut, Jalan Muara Brunei Darussalam. Note the small figs with pointed ostioles.