Shavez Cheema showing a large Ficus benjamina strangler covered in ripe figs. This fig tree is growing in a Sime Darby oil palm estate next to Jalan Gudang Empat at Tawau in East Sabah. See maps below. Ficus benjamina is both cultivated as an ornamental and also found growing wild in the forest in Borneo. The large size of this tree indicates that it originated from wild parents. Both wild and ornamental trees produce seeds and there are obvious hybrids in areas of forest next to towns
All photos by Chun Xing Wong of 1StopBorneo Wildlife
The black oval in the map above shows the location of a proposed fig planting project originated by 1StopBorneoWildlife to enrich the set aside areas in oil palm estates between Tawau Hills Park and Bukit Gemok in Tawau. The purpose is to encourage birds such as hornbills to travel along the corridor between the two areas of forest.
The green star shows the location of the large Ficus benjamina strangler shown in this article.
The photo above shows a self sown Ficus benjamina sapling growing on an oil palm near the giant F. benjamina fig tree illustrated in this article. Many fig species grow readily on oil palm trunks in the cups left by the cut leaves.
To enrich the set aside margins of oil palm estates and provide corridors of fig trees for wildlife it is best to leave the existing oil palm trees in place and sow fig seeds in the cups on the trunk left by the cut leaves.