ARROW LEAF FIG Ficus sagittata  J. Konig ex Vahl (1790)  SECTION: RHIZOCLADUS

Latin: Arrow shaped – referring to the often arrow shaped leaves. Both the  juvenile (bathyphyll) leaves and mature (acrophyll) leaves are more or less arrow shaped with  cordate (heart-shaped leaf bases).

Habit: A large root climbing liana common throughout Borneo with two very different types of leaves acrophylls and bathyphylls.

Leaf: As with other Section Rhizocladus root climbing figs most often encountered in the juvenile phase with the lower bathyphyll (juvenile phase) leaves pressed against a trunk. Unlike the  bathyphyll  (juvenile) and acrophyll  (adult) leaves of F. villosa which are very different the juvenile and adult leaves of F. sagitta are very similar except for the size the juvenile leaves being around half the size of the adult leaves.

Fig fruit: The medium size figs (1.5-2.0 cm) ripen orange to red and purple and vary greatly in shape from umbonate (peaked ostiole) to rounded with a sunken ostiole. The figs may be stipitate, stalked or sessile

Similar species: F villosa and F. recurva are similar Bornean root climbers.


(1) Both F. villosa and F. sagittata have 6-10 side veins on the acrophylls and 4-5 side veins on the bathyphylls, however the veins under the leaf are most distinct in F. villosa. (2) Ficus villosa has dense hairs on the twigs and a rough upper surface to the leaf whereas with F. sagittata the hairs are less dense and the upper surface of the leaf is smooth with only occasional hairs.

(3) According to Berg (2005) in F. villosa the bases of the stiff hairs are more swollen than in F. sagittata.

(4) In F. sagittata the mid rib of the leaf is prominent whereas with F. villosa the midrib is mostly flat apart from the base.

Borneo: Herbarium collections show that F. sagittata is equally as common as F. villosa in Borneo but less common than F. recurva.

Range: From India to South China south to Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Philippines east to Sulawesi and the Moluccas.

Ficus sagittata IMG_1143 - Copy
Ficus saggitata bathyphyll (juvenile) leaves  growing at the Belalong Field Centre, Temburong  Brunei.

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