ABOVE: The TYPE collection of Ficus subglabritepala collected on Gunung Kemul in East Kalimantan on 20 October 1925 by Endert. See map below.
BERG’S FIG Ficus subglabritepala Berg (2003) SECTION ERIOSYCEA
Latin: Refers to the flower tepals inside the female fig which may lack hairs.
Plant: Small tree to 10 m found in open areas on mountain slopes especially where the soil is poor. The leaf is rough above and furry below and varies in shape from palmate to oval
Fig: The medium size fig 1.0-1.5 cm is hairy outside and full of sharp hairs inside. The fig ripens from brown to yellow brown.
Similar species. One of 13 species of Eriosycea figs in Borneo with hairy figs and the fig interior filled with sharp hairs. Also has hairy twigs and leaves. Closely related to Ficus eumorpha which replaces this fig in the mountains of Sabah.
Distinguish by the very distinctive hairy leaves. The closely related F. eumorpha differs in having leaves that are even more hairy. See below .
Distribution: A very rare fig with only three collections in the Leiden herbarium. None in Singapore or at Kew. The Leiden records are from the Kelabit Highlands, Bukit Sampandai in the 7th Division , Kapit, Central Sarawak and Bukit Kemul in the mountains of East Kalimantan, west of Kutai. There do not appear to be any sympatric (overlapping records) suggesting that F. subglabritepala is a sub-species of Ficus eumorpha rather than a separate species.
Taxonomy: Originally described by Corner (1956) as a variety of F. eumorpha but split by Berg (2005)
Ecology: The most likely dispersers are the Masked Palm Civet and in the past the Sumatran Rhinoceros which was known to frequent ridge top paths in montane forest .
Distinguishing F. subglabritepala from F. eumorpha: “This species resembles F. eumorpha in the shape of the lamina, but differs in the absence of dense minutish whistish hairs covering the areoles, the indumentums of the stipules with only one type of hairs, and the smaller fig receptacle with pale brown indumentums. Moreover the tepals of the pistillate (female) flowers bear only a few hairs or are glaborous” Berg 2005.