PHOTO ABOVE: This Ficus virens growing on the floodplain of the Tempassuk river at Kota Belud in Sabah is believed to have the widest canopy of any tree in Borneo.
INTRODUCTION TO THE 5 SECTION UROSTIGMA STRANGLERS FOUND IN BORNEO
World 27 spp. Borneo: 5 spp.
Borneo hosts 5 species of Section Urostigma stranglers including 2 of Borneo’s biggest fig trees F. caulocarpa and F. virens and the introduced Bo Tree (F. religiosa) sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and Jains. No endemics. All species are monoecious (bisexual). For recent taxonomy see;
|F. caulocarpa||Common especially coastal districts||White spotted pink|
|F. concinna||Local on East coast islands only||White spotted purple|
|F. virens||Common throughout||White spotted purple|
|F. religiosa||Introduced Hindu/ Buddhist temples||Reddish green|
|F. superba||Local on S. China sea islands only||Purple spotted white|
How to distinguish Section Urostigma stranglers from Section Conosycea stranglers.
- Fig fruits normally with short stalks ( F. religiosa is an exception)
- 4 species of Conosycea fig fruits also have stalks but these are all bat figs which ripen green.
- Urostigma fig fruits ripen white first later developing pink or purple spots. Conosycea figs tend to ripen yellow/orange/red/black. ( F. microcarpa is an exception)
- Fig fruits are normally ramiflorus, densely packed on old growth branches. Conosycea figs normally grow in the leaf axils
- Articulated leaves with long stalks (petioles) with hinges or elbows (pulvinus) at both ends enabling the leaf to flex in the wind.
- All are deciduous, shedding their leaves in one event which are then immediately replaced.
- The twigs show evidence of seasonal intermittent growth by changes in the length and color of the internodes.