Ficus subulata growing on an oil palm at Kg Semundoh, Tongod in central Sabah. Where oil palm estates adjoin natural forest in Borneo epiphytic or hemi-epiphytic figs frequently establish in the hollows provided by the cut leaf bases on the oil palm trunk.
F. subulata is often misidentified as a Section Conosycea strangler with large leaves but F. subulata never grows very large and never strangles, normally living as bushy epiphyte in the understorey of primary forest.
Three distinctive features are clearly illustrated in this article. (1) The needle like stipules and (2) The large corrugated (bullate) leaves in which the side veins are prominent but sunken down (impressed) into the surface of the leaf. (3) The leaf base is always more or less uneven sometimes with a small ear or auricle. This is typical of Section Sycidium fig species but never occurs with Section Conosycea fig species.
All photos by Shuai LIAO taken on 12 September 2019. Collection #20190422