CUMING’S FIG Ficus cumingii SECTION: SYCIDIUM
Latin: After Hugh Cuming (1791-1865) a wealthy collector of natural history specimens, especially plants and sea shells, who traveled the world in his own yacht. Many Philippine plants are named after him.
Habit: Shrub or small tree to 5 m. A very common fig in the Philippines but very rare in Borneo. There are numerous varieties. The variety recorded for Borneo is var terminalifolia as illustrated in the herbarium collections shown below.
Ficus cumingii is closely related to Ficus opposita which is native to New Guinea and Australia. The distributions do not overlap.
Fig: Small to 1 cm ripening yellow to red with a short peduncle.
Leaf: The leaves are up to 6 cm wide by 30 cm long, rough and hairy with very variable toothed margins. The herbarium leaves dry greenish. The leaves appear to be opposite on the twigs in flat sprays which is very rare for the figs of Borneo. The only other Bornean fig with opposite leaves is Ficus hispida. In Ficus hispida the leaves are alternative opposite (decussate). Berg notes that in some parts of the range the leaves of F. cumingii grow in lax spirals or whorls.
Sabah: Kochummen in the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak (2000) notes that there are only 3 records in the Sandakan Herbarium all from the Tawau area of variety F.cumingii var. terminalifolia. The Sandakan Herbarium database lists 2 records from Bukit Gemok and one record from Tanjong Batu in Tawau.
Sarawak: The record from Kapit in Central Sarawak quoted by Berg (2005) is almost certainly an error.
Range: Taiwan south to the Philippines. Also present but rare in NE Borneo (Tawau area) and the northern Minahassae Peninsula of Sulawesi.
Ficus cumningii from Brooke’s Point SE Palawan Island, Philippines