SUNDA FIG (Form B) Ficus sundaica Blume. (1825) SECTION: CONOSYCEAE
Latin: Refers to Sundaland which until 10,000 years ago joined the islands of Borneo, Palawan, Sumatra and Java to the Malay Peninsula in one continuous area of forest divided by several very large rivers.
Habit: The most common form of F. sundaica was called by Berg (2005) Form B. The leaves are larger but the figs smaller than in Form A. Note that intermediates are common. F.sundaica is a large hemi-epiphyte to 35m. One of the most common large figs in many areas of coastal forest throughout Borneo often growing as an independent tree.
Leaf: The leaves of Form B average 10-20 cm in length with 7 to 10 pairs of lateral veins. All forms of Ficus sundaica have very distinctive basal lateral veins.
Fig: The small figs (1.0-1.5 cm) which may be round or oblong grow singly or in pairs in the leaf axils at the ends of the branches. Figs ripen green to yellow to red with a peaked red ostiole. The ripe figs attract many species of birds.
Similar species: This fig is so variable that it has been suggested that it is best described as at least two or three species in Borneo although intermediates occur.
The smaller form of Ficus sundaica, Form A was described as F. sundaica impressicosta by Kochummen in Tree Flora of Sabah & Sarawak (2000).
Distinguish: All varieties of F. sundaica are distinguished from other large stranglers with small to medium leaves by the very distinctive basal veins which reach one third to one half the length of the leaf. Form B has long oblong leaves 10-20cm long. The leaves grow in hanging branches, giving the tree a distinctive appearance.
Distribution: Based on collections held in the Singapore Herbarium this is the most common large strangler in the lowland forests of Borneo especially common in the peat swamp forests of Sarawak and Brunei (Anderson 1996), often on white sand (Berg 2005), but also grows inland up to 600m on Kinabalu, where it is less common than F. sumatrana and F. borneensis. Range: India east to Taiwan, south to Australia.