GREEN FIG Ficus virens    Miq. (1789)                                                                Scarce

Latin: Green referring to the fact that the leaves tend to dry green.

Plant: A medium to very large strangler very widespread in lowland forests  but most likely to be found in coastal districts.

Leaf: Large leaf, 8-20 cm long x 2.5-9 cm wide with a petiole (leaf stalk) usually 2-4.5cm long but occasionally up to 6 cm long.

Stipule: The short stubby brown stipule is a useful distinguishing feature when F. virens is dormant.

Fig: Small fig 0.5-1.5 cm usually sessile (no stalk) but sometimes with a very short peduncle up to 0.1cm long. There are 3 prominent basal bracts at the base of the fig. The figs ripen white to pink/grey to purple with black spots.

Similar species: The closely related Ficus concinna  is a rare vagrant to Borneo from the Philippines. In the Philippines F. concinna is very common.  In Borneo F. concinna  has only been recorded once, from  Bohd Gaya one of the Semporna Islands (East Sabah).

Distinguish: (1) In Ficus concinna the basal bracts are usually absent in herbarium collections whereas on F. virens they remain on the fig in herbarium collections.

(2) On average the petiole (leaf stalk) of F. virens is longer than that of F. concinna normally 2-4.5 cm long but up to 6 cm long.

(3) The peduncle (fig stalk) on F. virens is usually absent (sessile) or very short up to 0.1 cm long whereas with F. concinna the peduncle is usually obvious and up to 0.5 cm long.

Distribution: Leiden Herbarium has only five records from Borneo including 3 records from East Kalimantan.

Sabah: Orchid plateau in Ulu Segama; Menaggul River, Kinabatangan;  Locally common on the flood plain of the Tempassuk River just north of Kota Belud next to the Kudat Road. At Maliau one of three common genuine stranglers which strangle the host tree with a network of anastomosing roots, including F. forstenii and F. kerhovenii.

Sarawak: Collected by Anderson from the 19th mile Kuching to Bau Road; common in the forest behind Fort Margherita, Kuching. At Lambir the 35th most common fig in the 52ha plot with 3 individuals (Harrison (2003).

Range: Sri Lanka to S. China south to the Malay Peninsula, Philippines east to New Guinea and south to Australia where it is a common fig of the Queensland monsoon rainforests. A famous example near Cairns is known as the Curtain Fig from the multiple long hanging roots. A scarce resident of Singapore. See Lee & Ng et al (2013) Ficus virens in Singapore

Ficus virens ISO TYPE E00301014_6 -

Ficus virens 3Y3A0563

Ficus virens 3Y3A0574.JPG

Ficus virens Kuching 3Y3A0578.JPG

Ficus virens, Kuching 73 - Copy.JPG
All photos in this article are of a fruiting tree on Fig Hill, Fort Margherita, Kuching.

Fig Hill, Fort Margherita, Kuching, Sarawak