Ficus goniophylla: a species with spiny fig endemic to Sulawesi

Figs of Ficus goniophylla.

In late 2019, I have been appointed as a member of plant exploration lead by Wisnu H. Ardi, a staff from Bogor Botanical Garden, to Southwest and South Sulawesi, supported by LIPI and Wewin Tjiasmanto (Indonesia). While he is a Begonia expert, which of course looking for his precious herbs in the forest floor or rock walls, I decided to search a quite diverse genus of tropical plant groups, Ficus or known as figs.

We visited Mamasa, a newly established regency located in the valley surrounding the Mamasa River. It was a fruitful expedition I think, with more than 30 species I have collected from two weeks' explorations.

Many species of figs are grown in the center of the Mamasa Regency. And, of course, the species within the forest is more interesting as Cornelis Berg, in his Flora Malesiana, mentioned many endemic species come from this area.

I was quite amazed when I found one species which possesses sharp, many and quite prominent projections on the surfaces of its fig. Although previously I have seen an interesting, Ficus dammaropsis from New Guinea which has dammar-like figs, this one is special, I guess.

Ficus goniophylla leaves.

After an examination made on the Berg's account on the Malesian figs as well as comparison to various specimen kept at L (see, I concluded that my collected plant should belong to Ficus goniophylla. This species is endemic to Sulawesi and is only known from the South and Southwest.

I was very lucky to found this species. I found another unique character of the genus in nature which I have never seen before. And, this impresses me. Although the diversity of the genus has already been published, many undescribed species in the wild with unique characters needed to be discovered.