PRICKLY FIG Ficus densechini  Corner (1939)   SECTION KISSOCYCEA

Latin: Dense prickles- the label for the Kayan Mentarang (East Kalimantan) collection above says “bark reddish brown, very spiny. Spines c. 0.5 cm long.

Plant: Scarce root climber up tree trunks in hill forest on Kinabalu up to 1,600m and locally elsewhere in the Bornean mountains.

Leaf: Large 12-18 long x 6-10.5 wide.

Sex: Dioecious.

Fig: The large figs 6-12cm have long stipes (stalks)  up to 3.5cm long. Figs ripen red brown. The large fig is described as glaborous (smooth) by both Berg and Corner.

Similar species: Only two other root climbers on Kinabalu have leaves longer than 10 cm, (1) F.carri and (2) F. cavernicola. (3) See also the article on Ficus laevis  which is a very rare fig most common on the limestone hills near Kuching.

Distinguish: (1) From other root climbing figs with long leaves and large figs by the very long leaf petioles (stalks) between 3-13 cm long. (2) According to Corner referring to Kinabalu “ Around 1200m one may come across very large figs of two climbers. F. carrii has stiffly hairy, oblong figs up to 11.5cm long and F. densechini which has almost round reddish brown glaborous figs, up to 6.5cm wide with five tooth like scales set around the ostiole”

Distribution: There are seven collections of this rare Bornean endemic fig in the Leiden Herbarium, 5 from Kinabalu, one from the Kelabit Highlands at Pa Lina near Lobang Garam and one from the Kayan Metarang hills in East Kalimantan at Mt. Batu Mayo.

Ficus densechini ostiole.jpg

TYPE dens-echini SING.jpg