Photo above shows a fruiting Ficus caulocarpa one of Borneo’s most productive figs for wildlife destroyed to make way for development in the center of Tawau, East Sabah. The green hill in the background is Bukit Gemok.
All photos by Shavez Cheema and Chun Xing Wong of 1StopBorneo Wildlife
Ficus caulocarpa is a true strangling fig, one of a few species in Borneo that starts off as a seedling epiphyte in a tree hole on the host tree. Once established the fig drops down aerial roots that eventually reach the ground. Once the fig can obtain nutrients and water from the soil the drop down roots grow rapidly encircling the trunk of the host tree. All tree trunks grow continuously throughout the life of the tree. The host loses the ability to grow and the channels carrying water and nutrients (xylem and phloem) for the host become restricted. Eventually the host dies and the fig becomes self supporting.