ABOVE: Ficus virgata from the NATURALIS online herbarium. Ficus virgata is a very common fig in the Philippines east to New Guinea and the Pacific Islands but is very rare in Borneo. Berg (2005) lists F. virgata as occurring in Borneo but does not give any localities.  Of the 171 collections of Ficus virgata in the Naturalis online herbarium  only 2 have an origin listed as Borneo but the exact locality is not given.

TWIGGY FIG Ficus virgata  Reinw. Ex Blume (1825)                      SECTION: SYCIDIUM

Latin: Made of twigs, probably referring to the bushy growth with many small twigs.

Habit: A medium size bushy fig, which in the Pacific islands often grows into a medium sized tree.

Leaves: Almost symmetric, glossy green with prominent pale veins. Very variable in shape and size with from 4 to 28 cm long  and with 3-12 pairs of side veins.

Fig Fruits:0.6 to 0.8 cm diameter,  often ramiflorus, smooth, ripening yellow to orange to red to purple. Often with a pronounced rim around the ostiole.

Similar Species: Ficus tinctoria var tinctoria which has a very similar distribution and is equally variable in morphology.


  1. The stipules of virgata are normally over 1 cm long whilst with F. tinctoria they are usually less than 1 cm long.
  2. In virgata the leaf base is normally V shaped (attenuate) whereas with F. tinctoria the base is normally flattish.
  3. In virgata the twigs are normally smooth without hairs but F. tinctoria may have sparse hairs on the twigs

Range: Very widespread  from Myanmar east to the Pacific Islands and south to Australia. Abundant in the Philippines, Sulawesi, New Guinea and the Solomons but a mystery fig in Borneo most likely to occur on one of the small east coast islands.

02 Ficus virgata Borneo

Ficus virgata is locally common in the tropical rainforests of NE Queensland, Australia
Ficus virgata is locally common in the tropical rainforests of NE Queensland, Australia