This article provides an overview of the Figs of Hong Kong and source information about the local fig flora for visitors to that city. Many tourists do not realize that there are many extensive forested parks both on Hong Kong Island and the New Territories which are well worth visiting if you are interested in natural history.
In particular we would recommend the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gardens;
According to Corlett (2006) a total of 24 Ficus species are native to Hong Kong. Ten of these are also native to Borneo. The figs native to both locations include Ficus fistulosa, Ficus hispida, Ficus microcarpa, Ficus nervosa, Ficus sagittata, Ficus subulata, Ficus tinctoria gibbosa, Ficus vasculosa, Ficus virens and Ficus variegata.
In addition two native Bornean figs are commonly cultivated in Hong Kong but are not presently fertile due to the absence of fig wasps. These are Ficus benjamina and Ficus drupacea. Ficus religiosa which is not native to either Borneo or Hong Kong is naturalized (invasive) in both locations. In addition Ficus pumila is native to Hong Kong and is cultivated but sterile in Borneo.
According to Hill (1967) the Hong Kong fig flora is an impoverished Chinese flora with no figs that originated via the Philippines. In contrast Taiwan has 23 native fig species of which 11 species originated from the Philippines. Because most species of Filipino figs originated from Borneo it means that the Taiwanese fig flora is much more closely related to Bornean figs than the figs of Hong Kong.
One of the most obvious and most common figs both in Hong Kong and Borneo is Ficus microcarpa sometimes known as the Chinese Banyan. These two two figs are growing at the Hong Kong Railway Museum. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.