Ficus xylophylla (Wall. ex Miq.) Miq., Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugd. Bat. 3 (1867)
Latin for 'with tough leaves'.
Urostigma xylophyllum Wall. ex Miq.
Mid-canopy (strangling) tree up to 39 m tall and 56 cm dbh. Stem with white
sap. Stipules ca. 30 mm long, hairy. Leaves alternate, simple, tripli-veined,
glabrous. Fruits ca. 31 mm long, yellow-orange, elongate figs, placed in whorls
along the twigs.
Monoecious small to medium-sized tree, or more frequently strangler. Bark pale pinkish
grey, smooth. Twigs stout, 1-1.2 cm thick, strongly ridged. Stipules ovate to lanceolate,
c. 3.5 cm long, hairy outside, caducous. Leaves spirally arranged, very thick-coriaceous,
cardboard-like, glabrous, drying yellowish brown above; usually obovate, 13.5-27 x 6.5-
14 cm, base cuneate, margin entire, revolute, apex obtuse or rounded; midrib sunken
above; lateral vein 4-7 pairs, looping and joining near the leaf margin, prominently raised
below, raised above except basal pair which is sunken, basal pair extending up to 1/
2 the length of the blade; intercostal venation reticulate, lax, visible below, invisible above;
petiole 4-6 cm long, wrinkled when dry. Syconia axillary, sessile, solitary or in pairs,
ripening orange and then purplish red, oblong, 3-4.5 x 2-2.8 cm, apex flat, surface rugose
on drying; basal bracts persistent, 10-14 mm long, ovate, triangular, acute, keeled, concealed
by the syconia; internal bristles absent. Tepals 2-4, lanceolate to subspathulate. Achenes
tuberculate. [from Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak]
In undisturbed coastal, (peat)-swamp, keranga and mixed dipterocarp forests
up to 100 m altitude. Common on alluvial (swampy)sites, but also on hillsides
and ridges on sandy soils.
The brightly coloured figs and the leaves are attractive enough to introduce this
plant in landscaping.
Indo-China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo.
Local names in Borneo
Ara, Arah, Kara, Kara tungkul, Kayu alar, Kayu ara.