PEAR FIG Ficus apiocarpa Miq (1867) SECTION: KISSOSYCEA
Greek: Pear fig from the shape of the fig.
Habit: Root climber up tree trunks usually in lowlands especially peat swamp forest.
Leaf: 8-20 cm long x 4-13 cm wide.
Fig: The large figs (up to 3 cm width) grow individually in the leaf axils on a stipe+peduncle (stalk) up to 5 cm long. Figs ripen green to yellow to orange to red to purple and are usually heavily spotted when immature.
Similar species: F. disticha, F. allutacea, F. punctata, F. ruginerva.
Distinguish: from F. disticha by both larger figs and larger leaves, and from F. allutacea by the much larger figs. A useful rule to distinguish F. apiocarpa from F. punctata is that with F. apiocarpa the fig is nearly always smaller than the leaf whilst with F. punctata the large figs are nearly always much larger than the small leaves. When all else fails compare the leaves. F. punctata leaves are usually asymmetric and the lower surface is foevolate (pitted) whilst F. apiocarpa leaves are usually symmetric and the lower surface is tessellate (netted).
Distribution: Most records are from the coastal lowlands in Borneo. Previously common in the peat swamps of W. Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak. All the west Borneo peat swamps have been heavily logged or converted to oil palm. The main disperser of this fig was probably primates i.e. macaques, orangutans and gibbons and once they were hunted out the F. apiocarpa population probably collapsed.
There are no records from the hills of Sabah or Kinabalu. Previously locally common in the coastal lowlands of East Kalimantan.
Range: Myanmar south to the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Philippines and Sulawesi. Both F. apiocarpa and F. punctata can be found in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
However the plant labelled as F. apiocarpa in the Singapore Botanic Gardens looks nothing like the examples growing in the peat swamp forests of Borneo which have much larger, rougher leaves and oblong figs with a long stipe (extension of the fruit which looks like a stalk).