PHOTO ABOVE: John Vianni Anak Chandau   proving that Ficus racemosa fig fruits are edible by humans. According to John unripe green fruits are eaten with salt or soya sauce as a sambal  with rice whilst the ripe red fruits are also edible but fibrous. Ripe fruits are only eaten after the fig wasps and old flowers/ seeds have been scraped out leaving  a thin layer of sweet flesh.  All photos by Arlene Walshe.

Overview: Figs eaten by humans in Borneo.

John is a resident of  Kampung Sumbiling Baru,  located on the banks of the Temburong River, Brunei.  According to John ripe F. racemosa figs are mainly useful to villagers  as bait to catch a tasty river fish known as Kelah Luang.
IMG_2678 - Copy.JPG
Photos shows Ficus racemosa growing on a muddy bank of the Kinabatangan River in Sabah. In Borneo Ficus racemosa is a pioneer species of  the sunny, muddy river banks created by  large slow flowing rivers.
03 Ficus racemosa 3P7A5931
Upstream of the jetty at Batang Duri the  sandy banks of the Temburong river  are replaced with fast flowing rapids and shingle banks as shown in the photo above. Ficus racemosa does not normally grow in this habitat .
05 Ficus racemosa Kg Sumbiling Baru 0C7A5791.JPG
Ficus racemosa growing at Kampung Sumbiling Baru,  below Batang Duri on the Temburong River, Brunei.
Ficus racemosa growing at Kampung Sumbiling Baru, Temburong, Brunei.
06 0C7A5766.JPG
Ficus racemosa fig fruit are one of the most important sources of food for wildlife in Borneo. The figs are eaten by birds, civets, primates and bats whilst on the tree and by fish when they fall into the river .
Both unripe (left) and ripe figs (right) are eaten by humans but the figs are too fibrous to be considered an important source of food for humans.
07 Fius racemosa 0C7A5835.JPG
Unripe fig with the fig wasps  leaving the fig. After scraping out the fig  wasps and the dead gall flowers the figs are chopped up  and sprinkled with either salt or soya sauce for use as a side dish with rice.
08 Ficus racemosa 0C7A5823.JPG
After the fig wasps have left the fig ripens bright red  and  is eaten by many animals including humans.
Temburong, Brunei MAP
On the Temburong River in Brunei Ficus racemosa only grows on the river bank between Batang Duri and Bangar where the river flows relatively slowly between muddy banks. Ficus racemosa cannot grow in brackish water so  it does not grow below Bangar.  This means that on the Temburong River there is only c. 15 km of river that is suitable habitat for Ficus racemosa. On much larger rivers  such as the Kinabatangan in Sabah however  suitable habitat extends for hundreds of kilometers.Ficus racemosa: Crocodile dispersal ?