TRICHOCARPA Ficus trichocarpa (Blume 1825)                       Common hemi-epiphyte

 Greek: Hairy fruit- referring to the tiny very short hairs covering the fruit. However this is not apparent unless examined through a 10x magnifying lens and both fig and leaf appear smooth and glossy (glabrous).

Plant: Both Corner and Berg (2005) Flora Malesiana and (2011) describe this fig as a “root climber”,  but at least some of the individuals I have encountered in the wild, may possibly  have established as epiphytes in the canopy and then dropped down aerial roots to the ground.  A large number of herbarium collections are sterile (non-fruiting) root climbers which adds to the confusion. More field observations are required !

Fig: A very variable fig in both size and shape usually with a stalk (peduncle) but sometimes without (sessile) which ripens green to orange to dark red. There is a distinctive whorl of bracts at the junction of the peduncle and the fig. These are often broken off  but the base is still visible.

Similar species: Common root climbers.Ficus recurva, Ficus villosa and Ficus sagittata.

Distinguish: (1) By the oval glossy leaves with 4-5 side veins compared with the pointed hairy leaves and usually with more side veins of other Rhizocladus root climbers. (2) By the  bracts at base of the peduncle .

Ecology: According to Dr Zainal of BORA, Sumatran Rhinos eat both the leaves and fruit but prefer branches containing fruiting bunches

Distribution: Common throughout the lowland forests of Borneo. Not found in the mountains. Examples can be seen at Tabin (next to the river bridge on a large binuang Octomeles sumatrana) tree )  and at Sepilok next to the Discovery Centre Canopy Walkway. The least common Rhizocladus root climber.

Range: Vietnam south to the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra east to Borneo, Java and the Moluccas. Also Philippines but not Sulawesi.


Comparative abundance of Species SING LEIDEN
Rhizocladus root climbers in Recurva 31 71
Borneo based on collections in the Villosa 17 32
Singapore & Leiden Herbariums Sagitatta 10 40
Trichocarpa 8 20

Ficus trichocarpa

Berg  et al (2011) Flora of Thailand .jpg

Berg & Corner (2005) Ficus trichocarpa.jpg
Entry for Ficus trichocarpa in Flora Malesiana Berg & Corner (2005)