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.