RETUSE FIG Ficus retusa   L (1767)   SECTION: CONOSYCEAE

Latin: Refers to the sunken (retuse) apex of the fig around the ostiole.

Plant: Hemi-epiphyte to 10m. May also grow as a shrub  or small tree.

Leaf: Spirally arranged. Medium sized obovate leaf blunt at the far end. 4-15cm long x 1.5-6cm wide with a petiole (leaf stalk) up to 1cm long.

Fig: Small fig (1-1.5cm) in the leaf axils or on the bare branch behind. The figs ripen orange to dark red and are flat or with a distinctive sunken area around the ostiole.

Similar species: Note that many herbarium collections are wrongly labeled. Ficus retusa is part of group including F. spathulifolia and F. tristaniifolia  all with similar small obovate leaves and found in similar poor soil and peat swamp habitat.  Note that F. bracteata  (with very different large leaves) also  has figs with distinctive sunken areas around the ostiole. Dried figs of F.consociata also often show a sunken area around the ostiole.

 Distinguish: From F. spathulifolia and F. tristaniifolia by the different appearance of the fig with a sunken area surrounding the ostiole and from F. bracteata and F.consociata by the much smaller obtuse leaves.

Distribution

Sabah: No records.

Brunei: No records.

Sarawak: No records.

Kalimantan: Leiden Herbarium has 7 collections all from southern Kalimantan.

Range: Java (common) and South Borneo (rare).

Taxonomy: Descriptions of Ficus retusa var borneensis prior to Berg (2005) eg (1) Laman and Weiblen (1998) on the figs of Gunung Palung, (2) Harrison’s numerous publications on the figs of Lambir and ( 3) Kochummen (2000) Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak refer to Ficus kochummeniana NOT F. retusa.

Ficus retusa var borneensis was split from Ficus kochummeniana  by Berg (2005).

In the older literature Ficus retusa  was often called Ficus truncate or F.  truncata with a distribution stretching from India to Java.

BONSAI: In popular bonsai literature the name Ficus retusa is often used to refer to a Taiwanese variety of F. microcarpa with  small dark green leaves favoured by bonsai enthusiasts.

Ficus microcarpa, P. Maratua,

Ficus microcarpa, Kuala Abai, Kinabatangan ,

An Overview of the Figs of Borneo

Retusa von AVBJ 004.jpg
Illustration  from Atlas von Baumarten von Java, Volume 4.  Kooders et Valeton (1918) . The authors note that the are no aerial roots  hanging from the branches but the  roots of the stem  merge (anastomose) together to form a trunk as shown in the illustration above.

 

Ficus retusa TYPE collection at Kew originally names F.truncata 622902 .jpg
The TYPE collection of Ficus retusa in the Kew herbarium originally collected by Korthals in Borneo and determined by Corner in August 1958.