ABOVE: This amazing Talipot Palm Corypha umbraculifera  was about to commit suicide when we visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens  in November 2013. Talipot Palms flower only once in one big bang before they die. The single inflorescence  (flower spike)  is the the largest of any plant. Growing up the trunk of the Talipot Palm was a root climbing  Ficus liana  covered in luscious orange yellow spotted figs.


This fig growing in the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG)  was listed  as Ficus callicarpa typica in Corner (1939) A REVISION OF FICUS, SUBGENUS SYNOECIA in the Gardens Bulletin of the SGB.

In  Corner (1965) Checklist of Ficus in Asia and Australia with keys to Identification (Bulletin of the SGB)  this fig was listed as Ficus aurantiacea.

In Ng et Al (2005) A Guide to the Fabulous Figs of Singapore this fig is listed as Ficus aurantiacea.

In Berg & Corner(2005) Flora Malesiana  Volume 17/Part 2 this fig is listed as Ficus punctata. 

Both Berg and Corner freely admitted that the Ficus punctata  complex of species is a taxonomic mess. Eighty years after Corners (1939) monograph, the Ficus punctata group of species remains a taxonomic mess.  Within the mess however it is possible to distinguish  varieties with some consistent features. 

According to Corner (1939) Ficus callicarpa typica, the fig illustrated in this article  is the most common Ficus punctata type fig found in Singapore and Peninsular Malaya, South Thailand, Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi. It is found in Southern Borneo but not Northern Borneo. In Singapore and the Malay Peninsular  it is common in villages and orchards.  Pending further research on the Ficus punctata group I have chosen to call this fig Ficus punctata var callicarpa for the time being.

Ficus apiocarpa IMG_1404 - Copy.JPG

Ficus apiocarpa IMG_1409 - Copy.JPG
Note the ripe purple black figs upper left. Ficus punctata figs evolved to be dispersed by primates. Unfortunately the  mischievous Long-tailed  macaques that used to inhabit the Singapore Botanic Gardens have been deported so there is no animal that disperses the figs fruits.

Ficus apiocarpa IMG_1251 - Copy.JPG

Ficus apiocarpa IMG_0979 - Copy.JPG