SIMON’S FIG  Ficus binnendijkii  Miq. (1867)  SECTION: CONOSYCEA

Latin: Named for the Dutch botanist Simon Binnendijk 1821-1883 a curator of the botanic gardens at Buitenzorg (Bogor) in Java.

Habit: A locally common small strangler 10m-50m. At Lambir a growth habit peculiar to this fig is that instead of stopping growth when it reaches light to the side of the host tree and extending it’s branches sideways it will continue growing until it has topped the host tree. Unlike other Conosycea stranglers it specializes in sub-canopy host trees not canopy trees or emergents. (Harrison et al 2003)

Leaf: Extremely variable 3-15cm long by 1-5cm wide often long and narrow but always with a pointed leaf and very prominent veins.

Fig: The tiny figs (0.3-0.6cm) grow in pairs in the leaf axils at the ends of the branches and initially are enclosed in calyptrate bud covers. Figs ripen pale green to bright orange. The ostiole is open when the fig is ripe (as is also true of F.pellucidopunctata and F.pisocarpa). The 3 basal bracts are usually small – sometimes so small they are almost invisible.

Sex: Monoecious

Similar species: May be confused with any of the small leaved stranglers.

Note that a common pot plant fig in Europe is often mistakenly listed as F. binnedijkii. See under Ficus celebensis. See also F. pallescens.

Distinguish: (1) By the tiny figs which ripen orange with an open ostiole and (2) the small thick leathery leaves which are always at least three times as long as wide with a sharply pointed apex. (3) By the growth habit as described above.

Distribution: Scarce but widespread throughout western Borneo in lowland and hill forest. Sabah: Not found on Kinabalu. There are records from East Sabah.

Brunei: There is a fine example growing next to the canopy walkway at Belalong in the Temburong National Park, Brunei, which fruits regularly attracting many birds and mammals.

Sarawak: At Lambir Hills, uncommon but widespread (Harrison).

Kalimantan: No records from East or South Kalimantan. At Gng Palung (West Kalimantan) Laman and Weiblen (1998) record that this was the “by far the most abundant species in lowland and submontane habitats, especially abundant on submontane granite habitats”

Range: India east to Vietnam and the Philippines south to Sumatra, Java and Borneo east to the Solomon Islands and Australia. An uncommon tree in Singapore.

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