Borneo is the world centre of diversity with 12 species of Poikilospermum species.

Poikilospermum plants are often mistaken for figs as they have the same hemi-ephiphytic growth habit.

For this reason we are including this introductory article on Poikilospermum  on this Figs of Borneo website

Malay name: Akar Seringkallang


When you are searching for figs in Borneo you will frequently encounter species of Poikilospermum in the Urticaceae Family.

The purpose of this article is to allow you to easily distinguish Poikilospermum plants from figs and to provide an overview of their ecology and sources of further information.

Typically Poikilospermum have twin stipule like bracts at the terminal end of twigs.  Unlike Ficus, Poikilospermum do not produce white latex when damaged.  When flowering or fruiting the purple  pom pom flowers  which produce tiny blue fruit are distinctive.

For the world’s largest herbarium collection of  Poikilospermum species  use  NATURALIS

Family: Urticaceae (nettles),

 Genus:  Poikilospermum:  27 Species  recognized which normally grow as hemi-epiphytes on host trees in the under story of primary forest.

Range: Eastern Himalayas east to New Guinea.

Borneo is the world center of distribution with 12 Poikilospermum species of which 9 are endemic.

Ecology: Like Figs Poikilospemum plants grow as hemi-epiphytes and have fleshy fruits dispersed by small birds such as flowerpeckers and bulbuls.

As with figs, ants are important secondary seed dispersers, Bluthgen & Chung (2008) Poikilospermum and ant dispersal,

All species are diecious i.e. separate male and female plants,

List of Bornean Poikilospemum species extracted from Plants of the World Online POWO on 01 September 2021.

P. borneense Borneo endemic
P. cordifolium Borneo endemic
P. dubium Borneo endemic
P. intermedium Borneo endemic
P. longifolium Borneo endemic
P. micranthum Borneo endemic
P. macrostachys Thailand, Malaya, Borneo
P. oblongifolium Philippines, Borneo
P. peltatum Borneo endemic
P. scabrinervium Borneo endemic
P. suaveolens Tibet to New Guinea
P. subtrinervium Borneo endemic