Photo above: From the presence of internal hairs it is easy to tell that the fig in the photo above  is Ficus aurata and NOT Ficus fulva.

According to Berg & Corner (2005) there are 20 species of Section Eriosycea figs in Borneo.

Section Eriosyea figs can be easily identified because the females fig trees produce very distinctive seeds. See also Introduction to Section Eriosycea figs.

Eriosycea figs can be split into two types, (a) those with internal hairs in the female figs (13 species) and (b) those without internal hairs (7 species)  as shown and illustrated below

The first step when trying to ID an Eriosycea fig is to cut the fig open and look for hairs or the absence of hairs in the interior. The hairs can be seen by people with normal sight but a 10 x lens is helpful. See the  2 lists below;

Distinguishing between Section Erioscyceae figs.

(a)  13 SPECIES with INTERNAL HAIRS  eg. Ficus aurata

Section Eriosycea.
Series auratae: 13 species with colourless tepals and sharp hairs  (12 endemic) 
F. androchaete endemic to Borneo
F. aurata  Malaya, Sumatra, Palawan, Borneo (note all Sunda shelf)
F. aureocordata  endemic to Borneo
F. auricoma  endemic to Borneo
F. bruneiensis  endemic to Borneo
F. brunneoaurata  endemic to Borneo
F. dimantiphylla  endemic to Borneo
F. endospermifolia  endemic to Borneo
F. eumorpha  endemic to Borneo
F. inaequipetiolata  endemic to Borneo
F. macilenta  endemic to Borneo
F. setiflora  endemic to Borneo
F. subglabritepala  endemic to Borneo


Ficus aurata Corner (1970) - Copy.jpg
An example of a fig with internal hairs.  Ficus aurata showing the  sharp hairs surrounding the  male flowers left and females flowers right . Drawing  by J.H. Corner showing  the “hairy tepals”.
A129 - 20141009_170336.jpg
Section through a Ficus aurata fig fruit from Kg Babagon at Penampang in Sabah. This is a female “seed fig”. There is no evidence of male flowers near the ostiole at the bottom of the photo. Notice the sharp hairs.
A138 - 20141009_172046.jpg
Almost ripe seeds of a female Ficus aurata showing the hairy tepals surrounding each seed probably a defense against seed predators.


Section Eriosycea.
Series Eriosycea.   7 species  with fleshy edible red tepals 
F. chartacea -Myanmar, east to Vietnam and south to Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo
F. fulva-Nicobar islands, Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Timor, Sulawesi
F. glandulifera- India east to Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo
F. grossulariodes– Thailand south to Malaya, Sumatra, Java and Borneo
F. lumutana– Borneo and Sulawesi
F. subfulva– scare endemic relative of Ficus fulva.
F. tricolor -Malaya, Sumatra, Java and Borneo

Fulva illustration Berg (2005).jpg

Ficus fulva 01.jpg
A ripe Ficus fulva fig fruit is very hairy outside but lacks internal hairs.
Ficus fulva 02.jpg
In addition this  female Ficus fulva fig fruit full of almost ripe seeds  has fleshy red tepals to attract bird dispersers .
Ficus fulva 05.jpg
Male Ficus fulva fruit with fig wasps emerging from the  fig through the ostiole on the left hand side of the fig.
Ficus fulva 04.jpg
Male Ficus fulva fruit with fig wasps emerging from the  fig through the ostiole on the left hand side of the fig.

The 20 species of Section Eriosycea figs are common small trees of secondary forest and forest gaps throughout the lowlands, hills and mountains of Borneo. We speculate here that  the 13 species of figs with hairy tepals have evolved to target rhino dispersal  and the 7 species without hairy tepals have evolved  to target bird dispersal. See these links;

Fig Ecology: Javan Rhinoceros

Fig Ecology: Sumatran Rhinoceros