ABOVE: Illustration from King (1888) based on Forbes (1880) collection in Sumatra illustrated below. The type is from Singapore.
BRACT FIG Ficus bracteata Wall. Ex Miq. Miq. (1867) SECTION:CONOSYCEA
Latin: Refers to the fact that the terminal branches have distinctive persistent stipules (bracts).
Habit: Large woody liana or small tree to 15m. Very rare. The few Bornean records are from either peat-swamp forest or rocky ridge forest on the west coast of Borneo. Obviously prefers poor soils.
Leaf: Large 14-33 cm by 6-17 cm. Smooth above and with prominent sunken veins. The veins of the under surface of the leaf are also very prominent. The basal pair are very distinct with up to 3 pairs of minor side veins below and 4 to 6 obvious side veins above.
Fig: 1.8-2.5 cm. Has a very distinctive sunken ostiole which is also sometimes true of F. consociata. Berg (2005) says this fig ripens green to yellow to orange to red, i.e. the same sequence as Ficus consociata.
(1) Ficus consociata is very similar with (a) Extensive hairs on the leaves, twigs and fig fruit (b) The appearance of a sunken ostiole and (c) Occasionally persistent stipules and (d) A similar number of side veins (4 to 6) as compared with F. consociata (4-7).
(2) Ficus annulata. Some varieties of Ficus annulata have persistent stipules and hairy figs. F. annulata leaves always have 12 or more side veins whereas F. bracteata leaves always have less than 12 side veins.
(3) Ficus paracamptophylla is a very similar rare fig found in peat swamp forest with persistent bracts on the terminal branches but the leaf is flat above without sunken (impressed) side veins.
Distribution: Scattered records from coastal forest in west Borneo.
Sabah: The collections for Bongawan and Sipitang (both West Sabah) in NATURALIS. are most likely to be F. consociata. F. bracteata is not listed in the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak by Kochummen (2000)
Brunei: Not listed by Coode (1996) for Brunei.
Sarawak: The records for Bukit Lima (Sibu) and Padawan Hotsprings near Kuching most likely refer to Ficus consociata. Not listed by Anderson for Sarawak (1980. One record for Lambir. See Harrison 2003.
Kalimantan: Sambas (N. West Kalimantan). Not recorded for Gunung Palung by Laman and Weiblen. Singapore Herbarium has no Borneo collections and neither has Kew.
Range: Vietnam, Thailand , Philippines, Java, Sumatra and Borneo. The type is from Singapore. Many herbarium collections from the Malay Peninsula and S. Thailand are either F. kochummeniana or F. consociata.
Thai photographs show a fig very similar to Ficus retusa. e.g. Gardner et al (2018) and Berg et al (2011).
There is a strong possibility that this fig is either a rare hybrid between F. consociata and F. annulata or a variation of F. consociata.