MOUNTAIN FIG Ficus montana (Burm 1768) SECTION: SYCIDIUM
Latin: From the mountains even though Ficus montana is a lowland fig, only locally common on ultramafic soils on Kinabalu.
Habit: A small shrub up to 2m high usually found crawling over rocky river banks in the lowlands, but which may also grow as an epiphyte on trees. The leaves are irregularly toothed and range from 3-32 cm long.
Fig: Small figs (0.75-1.2cm) which ripen green to red. The ostiole of the unripe fig is surrounded by a distinctive rim.
Leaf: Extremely variable both in size and shape. On Java the leaf and young figs are eaten in vegetable salads (ulam).
Similar Species: Could possibly be confused with the closely related Ficus subsidens which has a very restricted distribution and the closely related F. heterophylla which in Borneo is only found in SE Kalimantan.
Distinguishing between Ficus montana and Ficus heterophylla.
- Ficus montana leaves are usually symmetric with a heart shaped base. Ficus heterophylla leaves are usually asymmetric with one side of the base distinctly larger than the other .
- Ficus montana The leaves grow in spirals or whorls. Ficus heterophylla The leaves grow in flattened sprays.
- Ficus montana has hollow twigs. Ficus heterophylla twigs are solid.
Distribution: Widespread and locally common in many parts of lowland Borneo including both primary and secondary forests. On Kinabalu it is decidedly rare found on lowland areas of ultramafic soil eg, Marak Parak, and the Menggis River at Serinsim in the north, where it is locally common.
Range: India to Thailand south to Malaya, Sumatra, Java and Borneo.