Ficus albipila is the tallest and one of the most impressive of Asia’s 400+ fig trees.
The giant smooth pale trunk of Ficus albipila mimics the trunks of two species of Koompasia (mengaris ) trees in Borneo.
The lofty branches of both species are the preferred nest site of Giant Honey Bees Apis dorsata in Borneo.
It is believed that the honey bees choose Ficus albipila and Koompasia trees for nesting because the the trunks are too smooth for Sun Bears to climb and steal the honey.
Koompasia trees are common but Ficus albipila trees are rare so when two individual Ficus albipila trees fruited simultaneously near the SFGC site at Tabin in February 2023 the opportunity was taken to collect fallen figs from both individual trees for propagation. After seed cleaning several hundred Ficus albipila saplings are now growing in polybags at SFGC for use in wildlife re-aforestation projects in Sabah.
Information and photos thanks to the staff at the Sabah Ficus Germplasm Centre