Ficus scaberrima is an epiphytic bird dispersed fig which is common along the edge of forest throughout Borneo. The figs are covered in small white raised spots which are glands which provide food for ants but the figs themselves are hairless. Previously F. scaberrima was known as Ficus pisifera but was split by Berg (2005) into two species, Ficus scaberrima in which the figs are hairless and Ficus obscura in which the figs are very hairy. Ficus obscura is most common in east and south east Borneo whilst F. scaberrima is common in west and north west Borneo.
In reality there appears to be no clear dividing line between the two and the amount of hairs on the fig appear to increase the further east and south east you travel. The photographs in this article therefore illustrate a fig which could be either species !
Mensalong FR lies just east of the Ranau – Kota Marudu Road in central Sabah. Mensalong Forest Reserve is just east of the northern section of Kinabalu Park.
Photographs by Suzika Juiling a Postgraduate MSc student at the Universiti of Sabah, Malaysia.