EARED FIG Ficus aurita Blume (1825) SECTION: SYCIDIUMs
Latin: Eared – referring to the asymmetric leaf often with an “auricle” or ear on one side of the base of the leaf.
Habit: A locally common small tree or liana of limestone hills in the lowlands or rocky slopes in the mountains.
Leaves: Very variable in size 6-28 cm long by 2-10 cm wide with a rough surface and scalloped or toothed edges. The leaves are distichous and strongly asymmetric with a short petiole up to 1.3cm long with (7-)10-13 (-15) pairs of side veins. Large leaves usually have a very distinct ear (auricle) at the base of the leaf. In smaller leaves this may just be an extra strip of leaf at the base. Herbarium leaves dry green.
Figs: The tiny figs (0.5-1.0cm) grow in the leaf axils or below the leaves and have very short peduncles up to 0. 5cm long. Figs ripen red. The sunken ostiole is surrounded by a lobed rim covered in bracts.
Similar species: There at least 7 species of Borneo figs with an auricle at the base of the leaf including, F. geocharis, F. midotis, F. scaberrima, F. obscura, F. rubromidotis, and F. hemsleyana..
- Of the other auricled figs, none have figs with an ostiole surrounded by bracts.
- The herbarium leaves of aurita dry green.
Distribution: Throughout Borneo but only locally common on limestone hills.
Sabah: Gomantong Caves, Madai Caves. On Kinabalu found along riverside cliffs up to 1,200m.
Brunei: No records.
Sarawak: Common in areas of limestone hills eg Mulu, Niah and the Bengoh Range near Kuching.
Range: Philippines, Borneo east to New Guinea.