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|