ABOVE: The intricate overlapping brackets surrounding the closed ostiole of Ficus auriculata growing at the Rainforest Discovery Centre Garden at Sepilok in Sabah. This particular individual fig tree originated from a cutting obtained by Tony Lamb from a plant nursery in Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.
Photos taken by Astrid Cruaud and Jean-Yves Rasplus on 3 March 2011.
Ficus auriculata is not native to Borneo and is rare in cultivation. This Sepilok F. auriculata is believed to be a parthenocarpic female tree which is able to produce ripe female figs without first being pollinated. There appear to be no fig wasps associated with this tree and parthenocarpic figs do not produce seeds. Parthenocarpic figs can only be propagated by cuttings and the resulting plant is a clone of the mother tree. However recent photographs of ripe female figs taken at Sepilok by George Hong appear to show the presence of seeds.
Ficus auriculata is the only known Asian fig which produces sweet, delicious, figs edible by humans. Ficus auriculata is commonly grown as an orchard tree in Thailand and India but surprisingly it is rarely grown in Borneo.