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Family Moraceae
Ficus heteropoda Miq.

Scientific names Common names
Ficus anomala Merr.            Alangas (Tagalog)
Ficus decussata Warb.            Thetanek (Zamboanga del Sur)
Ficus heteropoda Miq.            Barkberry fig (Engl.)
Ficus sargentii Merr.             
Ficus heteropoda Miq. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Gen info
- Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphytes, the largest genus in the family Moraceae. They are collectively known as figs or fig trees. Species are relatively easy to recognize—many have aerial roots and a distinctive shape or habit. The fruit is an inflorescence enclosed in an urn-like structure called a synconium; in essence, the fig fruit is a fleshy stem with multiple flowers that fruit and coalesce. (2)

• A tree, the young parts scabrid-hispid. Leaves opposite; those of the same pair unequal in size and unequally petiolate, from broadly ovate to elliptic; the apex acute or sub-acute; the edges rather coarsely and irregularly crenate-serrate; the base deeply cordate, slightly unequal, 5-nerved; primary lateral nerves about 6 pairs; both surfaces scabrous-hispid; length of blade 5 to 10 in.; petioles 75 to 4 in. long, scabrid; stipules lanceolate, hispid' 5 in. long. Receptacles in fascicles from short rough tubercles on the stem and larger branches, pedunculate, globose, pyriform, umbonate, slightly verrucose, shortly hispid, pale yellow when ripe, about -6 in. across; umbilical scales prominent; basal bracts none or irregular; peduncles thin, hispid, with 1 or 2 bracteoles, nearly 1 in. long. Fertile female flowers with a gamophyllous, deeply 5-cleft perianth; carpel elongate-ovate; style thin, lateral. Male and gall flowers not seen. (8)

• Tree up to 20 m tall. Leafy twigs 3-8 mm thick, whitish hispidulous to (sub)glabrous, ± scabrous; internodes mostly hollow. Leaves (sub)opposite or spirally arranged, pairs on horizontal twigs usually unequal; lamina elliptic to oblong to (sub)ovate to subcordiform, 10-32 by 7-20 cm, symmetric or ± asymmetric, chartaceous, apex acumiinate, base cordate to rounded, margin crenate-dentate to subentire; upper surface hispidulous, scabrous, lower surface sparsely to densely whitish (sub)-hispidulous on the veins, scabrous; cystoliths on both sides; lateral veins 5-10 pairs, the basal pair up to 1/3-1/2 the length of the lamina; petiole 2-9 cm long, varying in length on the same twig, whitish hispidulous to densely puberulous, the epidermis persistent; stipules semi-amplexicaul, 0.5-1 cm long, sparsely minutely strigillose, caducous. Figs axillary, in pairs or solitary, mostly ramiflorous to cauliflorous, on clusters of leafless branchlets with short internodes, down to the trunk; peduncle 1-5 cm long; peduncular bracts 1-3, scattered, c. 1 mm long; receptacle (sub)globose, 0.8-1.5 cm diam. when dry, hispidulous and scabrous or glabrous and smooth, with few 0.5-1 mm long lateral bracts, yellow to blood-red at maturity, apex ± convex to almost flat, ostiole c. 3 mm diam., surrounded by a low rim; internal hairs few to abundant, whitish to brownish. Tepals whitish to reddish, sparsely hairy at the apices. Styles glabrous. (Flora Malesiana) (6)

• Ficus heteropoda have tiny bracts on the surface of the fig, which distinguishes Ficus heteropoda from Ficus variegata, which looks superficially familiar. (6)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Throughout the Philippines; in low elevation forests and secondary growth.
- In Coron, Danjugan, Guimaras, Leyte; Luzon: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Isabela, Quezon, Rizal, Sorsogon; Mindanao: Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Surigao, Zamboanga, Zamboanga Sibugay; Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Polillo, Samar, Sibuyan. (7)
- Also native to
Maluku and Sulawesi. (1)

- Phytochemical study of methanol leaf extract yielded flavonoid, triterpenoid, and steroid compounds. (see study below) (5)

- Study suggests antibacterial property.

Parts used
- Leaves, bark.


- A few blogs warn that the fruit is poisonous; many describe the fruits as edible, sweet and juicy.
- Note: No studies found on toxicity.
- In Subanen tribe of Lapuyan, Zamboanga del sur, use infusion of trunk scrapings for treatment of tuberculosis. Infusion of small slices of trunk drunk as antibiotic after bleeding. (4)

Antibacterial / Leaves:
Study evaluated the chemical content and antimicrobial activity of methanol leaves extracts of five Ficus species viz., Ficus ampelas, F. ardisioides, F. fistulosa, F. heteropoda, and F. hirta against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans, and Aspergillus niger using agar disc diffusion. Ficus heteropoda and F. ardisioides inhibited the growth of S. aureus and B. subtilis with variable inhibition. (see constituents above) (5)


April 2024

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCES: Moraceae : Ficus heteropoda / Photos posted by Kynth Edrel Rebaño on facebook: FIG TREES PHILIPPINES (Filipino Interest Group for Philippine Figs): DellMher Rivera Del Rosario / Non-commercial use / Click on image or link to go to source page /
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Moraceae : Ficus heteropoda / Abaxial view of twig / Copyright © 2020 by Billy Tigbao (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz) [ref. DOL147239] / Non-Commercial Use  / Image modified / Click on image or link to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Moraceae : Ficus heteropoda / Longitudinal section of fig / Copyright © 2020 by Billy Tigbao (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz) [ref. DOL147259] / Non-Commercial Use / Click on image or link to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ficus heteropoda / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Ficus / Wikipedia

Ficus heteropoda / Flora Malesiana
Ethnobotany of Medicinal Plants Used by the Subanen Tribe of Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur / Jhoan Rhea L Pizon, Olga M Nuñeza, Mylene M Uy, WTPSK Senarath / Bulletin of Environment, Pharmacology, and Life Sciences, 2016; 5(5): pp 53-67 / eISSN: 2277-1808
Ficus hetropoda: First Record for Borneo / Uluulublog / THE FIGS OF BORNEO, 2020
Ficus heteropoda / Last Edited by P B Pelser, 2022 / Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines
Ficus heteropoda / George King, MB, HD, FRS, F:s / The Species of Ficus of the Indo-Malayan and Chinese Countries

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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