RHOMBIC LEAF FIG Ficus tinctoria var gibbosa Blume (1825) SECTION: SYCIDIUM
Latin: tinctoria=dye. The latex of this fig can be used for dyeing cloth yellow. Gibbosa= named after Lillan Gibbs an English botanist who climbed Kinabalu in February 2010 and who first discovered this fig.
Habit: Epiphytic climber or small tree. Locally common on the west coast of Sabah, on Kinabalu and in W. Sarawak.
Leaf: The leaves are extremely varied often rhombic (squared off) – see illustrations.
Fig: Very small in pairs at the base of the leaf ripening yellow to orange to red.
Similar Species: Ficus heteropleura
Distinguish: By the very thick waxy leaves often rhombic in shape but they may be long and slim. Leaves dry a curious orange brown colour.
Ficus heteropleura leaves may look superficially similar but the prominent veins on the underside of the F. heteropleura leaf are distinctive.
Distribution: Common in lowland forests in Sabah but less common than F. heteropleura which has similar habits and a similar distribution. Recorded from Signal Hill and from slope forest above the access road to Nexus Resort, Kota Kinabalu. Common at Poring and on the lower slopes of Kinabalu (Beaman 2004). There are no Brunei records (Coode 1996) or records from Lambir National Park in N. Sarawak. According to Anderson (1980) Ficus tinctoria var gibbosa is frequent on the limestone hills of W. Sarawak. No Kalimantan records.
Range: Sri Lanka to S. China, south to the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Lesser Sundas. In the Philippines found only on Palawan where it hybridizes with a sister variety Ficus tinctoria variety tinctoria.
Taxonomy: Ficus tinctoria var tinctoria has the widest distribution of any fig being found from Sri Lanka eastwards to the Pacific Islands. Within this range there are two recognized varieties or sub species with mostly non-overlapping distributions. Ficus tinctoria subspecies tinctoria and F. tinctoria subspecies gibbosa.
Ficus tinctoria subspecies tinctoria is more common throughout most of the the range but in Borneo has so far only been found on two remote islands in the Derawan Group off the coast of East Kalimantan, Pulau Nunukan and Pulau Kakaban.