Ficus palaquiifolia is one of Borneo’s mystery figs.
F. palaquiifolia was first described by Corner in 1960 in the Gardens Bulletin Singapore as a rare Borneo endemic stangler of hill forest at 1,200m.
According to Corner the distribution was limited to hill forest on Kinabalu and Mt Liang Gagang a rocky hill on the banks of the Mandai River a tributary of the Kapuas river in West Kalimantan.
However, in Bergs (2005) Flora Malesiana treatment of Ficus, F. palaquiifolia was described as Form B of Ficus sumatrana.
- Ficus palaquiifolia Corner Gard. Bull, Sing. 17 (1960)
A banyan with basketing trunk.
Leaves spirally arranged, Glabrous.
Twigs 4-5 mm, stout, fuscous, curved ascending.
Stipules to 24 by 10 mm, stout, paired.
Lamina 7-12 by 3-6.5 cm, elliptic to sub-obovate, shortly and acutely acuminate (tip to 8 mm), base cuneate, coriaceous thinly or firmly, drying brown; lateral nerves 7-13 pairs, slightly raised below, rather thick, subcrenulate, crowded, the secondaries almost as prominent, no intércostals, venation as in F. benjamina, the reticulations more or less visible below, invisible above; basal nerves 1(-2) pairs, slightly elongate 1/5-1/3 lamina; petiole 18-38 by 2-3 mm, brown.
Figs sessile, axillary, paired, ripening yellow to red; basal bracts 7-10 mm long, ovate, blunt, almost half-covering the body, but spreading or drying, body :10 mm wide (12-15 by 10-13 mm, living), sub-pyriform to sub-globose, drying knobbly from the thin wall collapsing on the seeds, the orifice umbonate from the 2-3 projecting apical bracts in a convex or subconical disc 2-3 mm wide; internal bristles none.
Tepals 3-4, linear-lanceolate, free.
Male flowers with pedicels 1/2-1 mm; filament short, anther rather large.
Gall- and female flowers sessile; fruiting ovary with red pulpy base.
Seed rather large, with very hard, thick wall.
Lamina with cystoliths on both sides; stomata sunken.
Distribution Two localities in Borneo only. Mt Kinabalu and Liang Gagang, Mandai River, near Puttusibau, Ulu Kapuas, (West Kalimantan).
Ecology. Epiphytic and on rocks, c. 1200 M.
Note. The narrow tepals, thick-walled seed, and red pulpy base of the fruiting ovary are features of F. hesperidiformis in sect. Malvanthera, but not the thin wall of the fig which gives its knobbly appearance on drying, as in some species of sect. Ficus.
It is allied with F. polygramma (Celebes), F. archboldiana (New Guinea) and F. benjaminoides (New Guinea), and has a rather thicker leaf with coarser veining and brown, not black, petiole on drying.