ABOVE: The magnificent male fruit of a male Ficus cereicarpa  tree at Lambir Hills Park in N. Sarawak. Note that there are effectively two bunches of figs in the photo above,  a mature bunch and a juvenile bunch. 

All photos by Jean-Yves Rasplus  taken on 13 August 2004.

According to Rhett Harrison who studied the phenology of Ficus cereicarpa  as part of his PHD an individual male tree that was monitored regularly, produced fig wasps continuously over a 4 year period until a severe drought in 1997/98 led to the extinction of all the  F. cereicarpa fig wasps at Lambir after two months.

Harrison (2000) PHD Phenology of Cereicarpa and Rosulata at Lambir

F. cereicarpa is adapted to a non-seasonal ever-wet climate in which individual male and female trees produce figs almost continuously,  not in  synchronised flushes like most other Bornean fig trees. In most other fig trees the production of figs is synchronised within the individual tree  but not in synchrony with other fig trees of the same species. With Ficus cereicarpa only individual bunches of figs are synchronised. Therefore  each bunch will be be at a different stage of ripeness within a normal c.90 day fruiting cycle.  It is this strategy which which allows an individual tree to produce fig wasps almost continuously. However as fig wasps are very sensitive to  drought  this is only possible in very wet non-seasonal habitats.

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The rotting figs on the left and the hole in the middle of the ostiole of the large fig on the right, indicate that this Ficus cereicarpa is a male tree and the  male figs are all beginning to rot. A previous bunch has already rotted. Male figs  act as  breeding chambers for fig wasps and do not produce seeds.

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Ficus cereicarpa produces figs both at ground level half buried in the earth and cauliferous on the small trunks of the tree.

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Note that leaves are produced in a whorl on the terminal end of a bare upright branch similar to the  structure of Ficus francisci and Ficus virescens.

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