PEA FIG Ficus pisocarpa Blume (1825) SECTION: CONOSYCEAE
Latin: Pea fruit referring to the size of the fig.
Plant: A common hemi-epiphyte in both virgin primary forest and dense secondary forest often along rivers. Usually establishes below canopy level, on relatively small trees in the forest understorey. At Lambir in N Sarawak Harrison et al (2003) found 13 individuals in 60 ha. making this the 9th most common hemi-epiphyte present. Appears relatively slow growing but older individuals eventually strangle their host and become self supporting. See this example at Tabin in Sabah.
Leaf: Spirally arranged. Medium sized oval leaf, 5-15cm long x 2.5-8cm wide with a petiole (leaf stalk) up to 2cm long. The leaf has impressed (sunken) veins above and clearly defined veins below. The leaf edge is usually revolute (turned inwards at the edge).
Fig: Small fig (1-1.5 cm,) in pairs in the leaf axils. The figs ripen green to yellow to orange to red. Red figs are rapidly taken by birds so fruit crops look largely yellow/orange. The ostiole is surrounded by a prominent rim and is wide open when the fig is ripe.
Similar species: F .kochummeniana also has leaf veins clearly impressed (sunken) above giving a corrugated appearance to the upper surface of the leaf but more extreme than in F. pisocarpa. The tertiary venation on the underside of the leaf is also very prominent in comparison with F. pisocarpa. The ostiole is open when the rig is ripe – as is also true of Ficus pellucidopunctata and Ficus binnendijkii.
Distinguish: The combination of the unusual corrugated (with sunken side veins) and revolute leaf (turned inward at the edges) plus the small fig with a prominent open ostiole is distinctive.
Distribution: Widely scattered throughout the forests of Borneo up to 1,200m in the hills. Often along rivers.
Sabah: Kg. Babagon, Penampang; Kg. Tontolob, Ranau; Kuala Penyu, Klias; Sook Plain, Keningau; Marai Parai, Kinabalu; Sipitang.
Brunei: Ulu Temburong, BSB Maritime Museum grounds, Sg Tutong, Sg Belait.
Sarawak: Marudi, Melinau Gorge, Mulu; Sg Labang, Bintulu. Pulau Bruit. Sg Raya 1st Division.
Kalimantan: Gng Palung (Kalbar), uncommon. Kutai (Kaltim).
Range: Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. Mindanao in the Philippines. A rare forest fig in Singapore.