The latest book from prolific Borneo based botanist Anthony Lamb is likely to be one of his most popular . The subjects are 109  species of edible fruits that grow wild in Borneo’s forests.  Lamb estimates  that of the 15,000 plants native to Borneo at least 500 species  are edible and eaten by locals.  Thus this guide provides an excellent overview rather than a comprehensive botanical monograph. The book is a hefty 296 pages lavishly illustrated with photographs and includes an extensive introduction to the fruits found in 11 different habitats as well as a double page spread for each  individual fruit species.

Wild Fruits 02.jpg
Orangutan Guy Broome.jpg
Not surprisingly, the majority of fruits eaten by humans in Borneo evolved to be eaten by primates such as orangutans, gibbons and macaques  long before the first humans arrived in Borneo some 50,000 years ago.  This male orangutan is eating unripe Ficus racemosa  figs.  Humans also eat both ripe and unripe Ficus racemosa figs. Photo by Guy Broome.
Ficus racemosa  Guy Broome.jpg
Descriptions of only four out of 150 species of figs native to Borneo are included. This reflects the fact that although figs in Borneo provide a very important food supply for  wildlife they are relatively  insignificant in human diets. The four illustrated  Ficus species include  Ficus racemosa, Ficus nota, Ficus malayana (listed as Ficus uncinata)  and Ficus callosa.
Daemonorops periacantha
In you have ever been caught by spiny rattan  whip when walking a jungle path in Borneo  you will not be surprised to learn that there are over  125 species of rattans in Borneo but you may be surprised to learn that many rattans produce edible fruit eaten by both primates and hornbills.
Castanopsis megacarpa 9.jpg
A large number of  Borneo’s plants produce seeds edible by humans  including these giant chestnuts which in the forest are dispersed by porcupines, and giant ground squirrels. Borneo is a world center of diversity for oaks and chestnuts (Fagacea)  with over 90 species growing wild.
Baccaurea odoratissima.jpg
These bright red Baccaurea fruits produce seeds surrounded by bright blue flesh  which is eaten by birds, primates and humans.  The fruit guide illustrates 7 different species of Baccaurea (Phyllanthaceae), 6 wild species of Garcinias (mangosteens),  10 species of  wild mango and 9 species of wild durians.

Tony Biography.jpg

Island Palm Civet eating terap 1.jpg
This Island Palm Civet Paradoxurus philippinensis  is  eating  a ripe Terap or Tarap  Artocarpus odoratissimus one of  22 wild Artocarpus species  that grow in the Borneo forests.  10 species of Artocarpus are illustrated in this guide. As described by the author many wild fruit trees in Borneo are also cultivated to a limited extent often found  growing in the forest adjacent to remote villages. Photo by Joe Pan