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Family Moraceae
Ficus fiskei Elm.

Scientific names Common names
Ficus fiskei Elm. As-is (Tag.)
Accepted infraspecifics (3) Isis (Tag.)
Ficus fiskei var.  fiskei Oplax (Ifugao)
Ficus fiskei var. cebuensis Merr. Upling-gubat (Tag.)
Ficus fiskei hemicardia Merr. Sandpaper leaf (Engl.)
Ficus hemicardia var. curvata Sata Sandpaper leaf (Engl.)
Ficus hemicardia var. grandiflora Sata  
Ficus fiskei var.  laevifolia Merr.  
Ficus fiskei var.  multinervia Corner  
Ficus fiskei Elm. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Gen info
- There are over 800 genus Ficus in the tropics and subtropics, comprising the fig or mulberry family (Moraceae, with about 40 genera).
- The Plant List of 2013, 919 species of Ficus was listed as accepted names. In China, 99 species have been reported, 16 endemic and 2 are introduced. In Taiwan 21 species are endemic and 20 are introduced. (3)
- Fruits and leaves of Ficus species are important source of food and medicine in South China. In Nepal, foliage is used as livestock fodder. Many Ficus species have recognized pharmacological properties, i.e., anticancer, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, etc.(3)
- Ficus fiskei is one of the 150 endemic Ficus species in the Philippines.
Alas, It is a neglected Ficus species, understudied, underutilized, and undervalued. (2)

Ficus fiskei is native small tree growing to a height of 4 meters. Bark is brown and tough with fine spinulose hairs, arising from minute cones. Leaves are dry, brittle and equilateral, 22 centimeters long and 18 centimeters wide, distichously unequally arranged, with unequal subordinate bases, acute or acuminate apex, sparsely scabrous upper surfaces, with in volute, undulate margins. Yellowish green veins and reticulations are prominent beneath the leaves. Petioles are uniformly short, stout, hispid, acuminate and glabrous, about 8 millimeters long. Synconium is green when young, and yellow-red when ripe. (2)

- Endemic in the Philippines.
- In thickets and forests and moist localities, at low and medium altitudes.

- Ethanolic leaf extract yielded alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, and phenolics. Total phenolic content (TPC) and total flavonoid (TFC) were estimated at 0.019 mg gallic acid equivalent/mL and 0.635 mg quercetin equivalent/mL, respectively. (see study below) (2)

- Dried mature leaves are hard and rough, used for filing (native sandpaper) by the Ifugao in northern Luzon. (2)
- Study has suggest oxidant and prooxidant properties.

Parts used


- No reported medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Sandpaper: Leaves are used as native sandpaper by the Ifugaos of northern Luzon.
(2) Ifugao wood carvers use the dry leaves first, followed by green leaves, with a final polish using juice from the leaves. (4) Also used for sanding bare wood and scouring pots and pans.

Prooxidant and Antioxidant Polar Phytoconstituents / Leaves:
Study evaluated the phytoconstituents profile, polyphenols, flavonoids and prooxidant/antioxidant capacity of an ethanolic leaf extract. On FRAP assay, the extract showed high reducing capacity on iron ranging from 44-86%. Crude extracts showed inhibitory effect on DPPH radical (IC50=2.2 mg/mL) and nitric oxide radical (IC50>10mg/mL). Conversely, the extract was stimulatory on producing superoxide (SC50-0.786 mg/ML) and hydroxyl (SC50=0.056 mg/ml) radicals. Results suggest F. fiskei acts as antioxidant and prooxidant by modulating production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species which are important in neutralizing oxidative stress and maintaining human health. (see constituents above) (2)


Updated January 2024
May 2020

                                                  PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ficus fiskei Elm. / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Prooxidant and Antioxidant Polar Phytoconstituents from Endemic Philippines Ficus fiskei Elm. (Moraceae) / Librado A. Santiago, Sweyn B. Balidoy / International Journal of Pharmacy Teaching and Practices, Jun-Sept 2016; 7(2): pp 2127-2135
Ficus info: Eric Wei Chiang Chan / Botany, Uses, Chemistry and Pharmacology of Ficus microcarpa: A Short Review / Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy, April 2017; 8(1): pp 103-111
Ifugao Ethnobotany 1905.1965: the 1911 Beyer.Merrill Report in Perspective
/ Harold C Conklin / Economic Botany

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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