Ficus punctata is a common large liana with very large bright orange figs that occurs throughout the forests of Borneo.

F. punctata is easily recognizable from the  giant figs that hang from a bare liana that reaches from the ground high into the canopy.

But how does the F. punctata liana reach the canopy without support from the host tree ?

The links and photographs in the article below illustrate the sequence of events;

  1. F. punctata starts as a  root climber with tiny leaves from a seed at the base of the host tree.
  2.  The sapling F. punctata spreads out in a dense mat of roots and tiny leaves over the base  trunk of the host tree gradually expanding up the trunk.
  3.  Eventually the mat of tiny roots and leaves reaches the sunlight of the canopy.
  4.  The multiple small roots consolidate  into a single liana stem which develops leafy branches with larger leaves at canopy level.
  5. The original dense mat of tiny leaves and roots at the base of the host  tree dies away and fall  off.
  6. The liana becomes free hanging and starts fruiting.
  7. Ficus punctata figs are so big they cannot be eaten by birds such as hornbills, only animals with teeth such as binturongs, orangutans, macaques and gibbons.
  8. The liana  acts like a single rope ladder for these mammals to easily climb up to eat the ripe figs and disperse the seeds.

Thanks to Yulinda Wahyuni, Shavez Cheema and Chun Xing WONG of 1 Stop Borneo Wildlife