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Anthea Phillipps examining a small Ficus fistulosa tree growing on the edge of the ornamental lake at Bukit Padang, Kota Kinabalu.
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The young leaves of Ficus fistulosa are usually reddish. This is  a useful distinguishing feature. Ficus septica another fig tree common in urban areas around Kota Kinabalu never has  reddish leaves
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On the upper surface of this leaf are two sorts of markings. Tiny white dots and  larger shiny white roundish markings. The tiny white dots are glands known as hydathodes which expel excess water from the upper side of the leaf. The water contains excess mineral salts which dry on the leaf and show up as the shiny round markings. The process is known as guttation and is common in many figs as well as other plants.

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