Ficus nervosa  var pubinervis  photographed by Shuai LIAO on Orchid Island  off the south east coast of Taiwan. All photos and information courtesy of Shuai LIAO. Note that two different individual plants are illustrated in the photographs. Collection # 20190262 (top 3 photos) and Collection #02190264 (bottom 4 photos) 

During the Pleistocene ice ages, the island of Taiwan was connected  by land to the Asian mainland and therefore shares a similar flora and fauna.

However many of the small islands surrounding Taiwan were formed by volcanoes and therefore were never connected by land either to Taiwan or to the mainland. They have therefore developed a distinctive island flora and fauna  which is often shared with the oceanic islands of the Philippines and of southern  Japan. The majority of  these isolated island plants arrived either as drift seeds  or were brought as seeds in the guts of pigeons and giant fruit bats.

The result is that the island of Taiwan itself  hosts the continental Ficus nervosa subspecies nervosa  whilst two small islands off the SE coast of Taiwan, Green Island and Orchid island host Ficus nervosa subspecies pubinervis which is also found on many islands in SE Asia (see map below).

According to  Professor Hsy-Yu Tzeng of Taiwan,  Ficus nervosa var nervosa and F. nervosa var pubinervis have the following differences. F.n. pubinervis has  larger figs, shorter peduncles and white hairy stipules as well as differences in seed morphology. These differences are probably sufficient for them to be split into 2 separate species but this first needs to be confirmed by comparison of DNA.  Information thanks to Shuai LIAO.

01 Ficus nervosa pubinervis★ Orchid Island●20190262★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7076

02  Ficus nervosa pubinervis★Orchid Island●20190262★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7085.JPG

03 Ficus nervosa pubinervis★ Orchid Island●20190262★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7089.JPG

04 Ficus nervosa pubinervis★Orchid Island●20190262★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7075

5 Ficus nervosa  pubinervis★Taiwan, Orchid Island●20190264★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7119.JPG

06 Ficus nervosa pubinervis★ Orchid Island●20190264★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7131.JPG

07 Ficus pubinervis★ Orchid Island●20190264★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7128.JPG

08 Ficus nervosa pubinervis★Orchid Island●20190264★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7127.JPG

09 Ficus nervosa  pubinervis★ Orchid Island●20190264★ Shuai LIAO-LSL_7118.JPG

Taiwan and Orchid Island  - Copy.jpg
The two islands circled Orchid Island (Lan-yu) and Green island  are formed from volcanoes  and therefore possess a distinctive oceanic flora including Ficus nervosa pubinervis which is not found on the larger island of Taiwan.
07 Ficus nervosa  WEB MAP - - FINAL - Copy.jpg
World distribution of Ficus nervosa subspecies pubinervis.