CARR’S FIG Ficus carri Corner (1939) SECTION KISSOCTCEA
Latin: Named after Cedric Eroll Carr (1892-1936) an orchid fanatic who spent several months collecting figs for Corner on Kinabalu in 1933. Carr died of malaria (age 44) collecting plants in New Guinea.
Habit: A scarce root climber up tree trunks in the mountains of Sabah.
Leaf: Large leaves 9-21 cm long x 4.5-9 cm wide.
Fig: The large oblong figs (4-5 cm in diameter and 11.5 cm long ) grow in the leaf axils on a short peduncle (stalk) up to 0.5 cm long and are covered in a dense coat of short hairs. Figs ripen white to brown to purple.
Distinguish: “Above 1200 m one may come across the very large fallen figs of. F. carrii (endemic) which has stiffly hairy, oblong, figs up to 11.5 cm long. The large stiff leaves with prominent veins and the white hairy figs render this one of the most striking species of climbing figs that has been discovered. It is easily distinguished by the large acuminate leaves drying fawn-brown, the coarse venation, the wholly villous (hairy) receptacle (fig) with a sunken orifice” Corner (1938)
Distribution: Endemic to Sabah.
Locally common on Kinabalu from 1200-1500 m, with records from Tenompok, Kinabalu Park HQ and Mesilau. Also recorded from near the summit of Gunung Silam (c. 800 m) in mossy montane forest. Silam is a mountain near Lahad Datu in E. Sabah with ultramafic soils and unusual vegetation.
Unique seed shape of Ficus carrii: As pointed out by Corner (1976) The climbing Species of Ficus, Ficus carrii seeds are smooth and oblong without any form of “ant carrying handles” unlike all the other species of root climbing ficus found in Borneo. Many fig seeds in Borneo are secondarily dispersed by ants- so this indicates an unusual means of dispersal.