Ficus merrillii Elmer
Ficus serraria Miq.
Ficus staphylosyce Ridl.
Common Name: Walen
Walen is a small tree growing up to 15 metres tall. The bole can be up to 30cm in diameter[
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a treatment for malaria and for chewing with betel nut.
Southeast Asia - Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia.
Lowland and montane forest, at elevations up to 2,400 metres[
Fig trees have a unique form of fertilization, each species relying on a single, highly specialized species of wasp that is itself totaly dependant upon that fig species in order to breed. The trees produce three types of flower; male, a long-styled female and a short-styled female flower, often called the gall flower. All three types of flower are contained within the structure we usually think of as the fruit.
The female fig wasp enters a fig and lays its eggs on the short styled female flowers while pollinating the long styled female flowers. Wingless male fig wasps emerge first, inseminate the emerging females and then bore exit tunnels out of the fig for the winged females. Females emerge, collect pollen from the male flowers and fly off in search of figs whose female flowers are receptive. In order to support a population of its pollinator, individuals of a Ficus spp. must flower asynchronously. A population must exceed a critical minimum size to ensure that at any time of the year at least some plants have overlap of emmission and reception of fig wasps. Without this temporal overlap the short-lived pollinator wasps will go locally extinct[
The bark and leaves are sometimes chewed with betel nuts (the endosperm of Areca catechu) as a substitute for gambier (Uncaria gambir)[
An extract from the bark, locally called 'gambir utan', used to be applied against malaria[
], but proved to be ineffective[
The leaves are used in the treatment of diarrhoea[
The latex is anthelmintic[
Seed - germinates best at a temperature around 20°c[
Tip cuttings around 4 - 12cm long, taken from lateral branches[
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