Interactive key to the figs of Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia (Borneo)





Figs (Ficus spp., Moraceae) are species rich and ecologically important plants in the forests of Borneo.  Research at Gunung Palung National Park in West Kalimantan, Indonesia during the past ten years has focused on aspects of fig ecology including frugivory, dispersal and forest dynamics.  Due to the extreme richness of the fig flora in Gunung Palung (GP), tools for the identification of species will be useful to on-going and future research projects.  We have produced an interactive key to 57 species and 4 additional varieties that are found within the boundaries of GP.  This includes one new species and nearly half of the estimated 130 species known from Borneo.  We believe that the key has the potential to be expanded to encompass all the figs of Borneo and eventually wider geographic areas.


Interactive keys have many advantages over traditional keys and ours is designed to be accessible to anyone on the web with a basic knowledge of botany.  Aspects of growth, branching, leaves, stipules and figs are covered by 88 qualitative and quantitative characters.  Most species can be diagnosed on the basis of vegetative or reproductive features alone.  As a taxonomic resource, the key includes detailed information on reproductive morphology of interest to systematists.  The key was developed from first-hand field knowledge, herbarium specimens and the literature.  All measurements were made from dried specimens.  However, the key can be used with fresh figs in the field by multiplying measures by 0.6 to approximate the dry state.  The "fresh fig factor" is taken from a regression of 240 ripe figs across a broad range of species and fig sizes (r^2 = 0.9). 


Species ranges are based on fully expanded leaves and ripe figs in mature plants and, therefore, quantitative characters should be avoided when keying immature figs and juvenile plants.  When using quantitative characters, try to choose a median value rather than an extreme.  After eliminating all but one species, it is important to read carefully the full description to ensure an accurate identification. 


Based on ten years of experience and extensive collecting during 1996-1997 at Gunung Palung, we are confident that we have accurately documented the local fig flora, especially in primary lowland forest.  Although additional species await discovery, we believe that it is a good time to publish electronically our key to the figs of Gunung Palung.  Our data are stored in Delta format and they can be displayed on the web using Navakey.  In the future we would like to provide illustrations of characters and states as well as photographs of species in the living state. We welcome your comments and suggestions.  Thanks for your feedback!


The information contained in the key is published in Laman, T. G., and G. D. Weiblen. 1998. Figs of Gunung Palung National Park (West Kalimantan, Indonesia). Tropical Biodiversity 5:245-297.


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(c)1998 Timothy Laman and George Weiblen