Ficus deltoidea Jack

Last updated: 2 Sept 2016

Scientific Name

Ficus deltoidea Jack


Erythrogyne lutescens (Desf.) Vis., Ficus deltoidea var. angustifolia (Miq.) Corner, Ficus deltoidea f. angustissima Corner, Ficus deltoidea var. arenaria Corner, Ficus deltoidea var. bilobata Corner, Ficus deltoidea var. borneensis Corner, Ficus deltoidea var. kunstleri (King) Corner, Ficus deltoidea f. longipedunculata Corner, Ficus deltoidea var. lutescens (Desf.) Corner, Ficus deltoidea var. peltata Corner, Ficus deltoidea var. recurvata Kochummen, Ficus deltoidea f. subhirsuta Corner, Ficus deltoidea f. subsessilis (Miq.) Corner, Ficus deltoidea var. trengganuensis Corner, Ficus diversifolia Blume, Ficus diversifolia var. deltoidea (Jack) Ridl., Ficus diversifolia var. kunstleri King, Ficus diversifolia var. latifolia Kurz, Ficus diversifolia var. latissima Miq., Ficus diversifolia var. lutescens (Desf.) King, Ficus diversifolia var. ovoidea (Jack) King, Ficus diversifolia var. subsessilis Miq., Ficus lutescens Desf., Ficus ovoidea Jack, Ficus ovoidea var. lutescens (Desf.) Kuntze, Ficus retusa var. ovoidea (Jack) Miq., Ficus sideroxylifolia Griff., Ficus spathulata Miq., Ficus viscifolia Kunth & C.D.Bouché, Synoecia diversifolia Miq., Synoecia diversifolia var. angustifolia Miq. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Mas cotek, ara burong, ara jelateh, ara tanah [2]; pokok barito, pokok raja ubat [3]
English Mistletoe fig, mistletoe rubber plant, rusty-leaved bush fig [2]
Indonesia Tabat barito [2].

Geographical Distributions

Ficus deltoidea is distributed in Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Philippines (Palawan) and Sulawesi introduced in Indo-China, India and Pakistan. [4]

F. deltoidea is common in lowlands and mountains, up to 3200 m altitude, generally occurring as an epiphyte, but as a terrestrial bush on sandy shores and mountain tops and bogs. [4]

Botanical Description

F. deltoidea is a species in the family of Moraceae. It is an evergreen epiphyte or small shrub, up to 2 m tall. [4]

The leaves are obovate to elliptical or obdeltoid, with a size of 2.5-8 cm x 1.3-7.5 cm. Leaf base is broadly wedge-shaped, blunt to truncate or widely notched apex, rarely pointed, entire margin, white-spotted above, rusty or yellow-olive underneath, the midrib is sometimes forked and stipules are 8-12 mm long. [4]

The male flowers are dispersed, with 2-3 free tepals and 2 stamens while the female flowers are sessile to subsessile and with 3-4 tepals. [4]

The figs (fruits) are axillary, solitary or paired, spherical to oblong, 5-10 mm in diametre and they are ripening to orange or red. [4]


Soil Suitability and Climate Requirement

F. deltoidea requires well drained soil such sandy bris soil for good growth since it cannot withstand waterlogged conditions. The plant can grow well on peat soil. The optimum monthly rainfall is 180–200 cm. F. deltoidea can also grow in containers such as polybags provided the right medium is used. Excess soil moisture can retard plant growth. [5]

Field Preparation

Land Preparation

The basic requirement for commercial planting of F. deltoidea is an area with a good drainage system. Raised planting beds are necessary for areas that are high in water table and prone to flash floods especially during the wet season. [5]

Production of Planting Materials

F. deltoidea can be propagated either by seeds or cuttings. Using cuttings from young growing shoots is easier, faster and produces better seedlings. Young shoot cuttings are ready for field transplanting after 7-8 weeks in the nursery. The use of shoot cuttings ensures the accessions produced are true to type to that of their mother plants. [5]

Figure 1: Seedlings from stem cuttings ready for field planting after 7-8 weeks in the nursery.

Field Planting

The bed size recommended differs according to accessions and the pruning system practised. For optimum growth, the recommended bed size is 1.5 m wide and 0.5 m high. The recommended planting distance is 1.2 m between plants within row and 2.0 m between beds. This will produce a population density of about 4,200 plants per hectare. For sandy soils (containing more than 90% sand) such as bris soil, the use of ameliorating materials like rotted palm oil fruit bunch is essential. These materials increase the moisture content in the planting area, decrease nutrient loss through leaching and thus increase nutrient intake by the plants. Rotted oil palm fruit bunch should be applied at the rate of 5-7 kg/plant by working it into the soil to 30 cm deep from the soil surface. [5]


Figure 2: Commercial planting of F. deltoidea on peat soils.
Figure 3: Commercial planting of F. deltoidea under netted structures.

Field maintenance


For sandy soils like bris, two types of fertilisers are recommended: organic fertiliser e.g. chicken manure and inorganic fertilisers with more complete nutrient content. Organic fertiliser should be given as a basal dressing three days before planting and subsequently at six months intervals at the rate of 10 t/ha. The inorganic fertiliser (N:P:K=10:10:10) at the rate of 2 t/ha should also be applied at six months intervals. [5]

Weed Control

Weed is not a major problem if plastic mulch is used. Besides controlling weeds, mulching also ensures the moisture level in the beds is maintained. If necessary, weeds should be controlled by applying contact herbicides or removed manually. [5]

Water management

Since plastic mulch is used, the recommended irrigation system is drip tape. Every planting row is fitted with drip tape before the plastic mulch is laid on top of the beds. The amount of water supplied to the beds depends on the plant age, soil types and moisture level in the soil. [5]

Pest and Disease Control

F. deltoidea is rather sensitive to nematodes. Infestation by root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne sp.) can cause small galls to form on the roots. This can retard plant growth, expose the plant to other root diseases and even kill the plants. To avoid infestation, the planting medium used in the production of seedling must be free from nematodes. [5]


Traditionally, F. deltoidea is harvested from its natural habitat in the forests by pulling the whole plant. A fully grown plant can weigh up to 20 kg. The whole plant which includes roots, fruits and stem is used as raw materials in the production of traditional medicine. Cultivated plants can be harvested by cutting the young growing shoots (about 20 cm long) at four months intervals. Depending on the accession, the potential fresh weight is approximately 13 t/ha. The potential dry yield is about 2-3 t/ha. [5][6][7][8]

Figure 4: The leaves are dried by using home made solar drier.

Postharvest handling

The fresh leaves of F. deltoidea contain latex which is believed to be toxic. Thus, proper drying is necessary before consuming or processing into commercial products. Usually, herb collectors sun-dried the plant materials for 4-5 days before selling to the users. At this stage, the moisture content in the plant materials is about 10-15%. [5]

Estimated cost of production

The total production cost for a hectare of F. deltoidea is estimated at RM28,800. The cost of input is estimated to be RM17,000. Other costs include labour and cost of land preparations. The production cost of F. deltoidea is estimated at RM10.00–RM14.00/kg. The production cost was estimated based on the cost of current inputs during writing of this article. [5]

Chemical Constituent

Aqueous and methanol extracts of the leaves have been found to contain flavonoids (e.g. vitexin, isovitexin), tannins, polysaccharides and proteins [9][10]. Additionally, the aqueous extract also had flavonoids (e.g. flavan-3-ol, flavone glycosides, chalcone) and others (e.g. phenylalanine, cinnamic acid, proanthocyanidins) [11]. Whereas, the methanolic extract had flavonoids (e.g. moretenol, rutin, narigenin, quercetin) [12][13].

Essential oil of the leaves has been found to contain monoterpenes (e.g. 6-methyl-5-heptane-2-one, mycrene, (Z)-β-ocimene, (E)-β-ocimene, cis-furanoid linalool oxide, trans-furanoid linalool oxide, linalool, limone), sesquiterpenes (e.g. dendrolasine, α-cubebene, cyclosativene, α-ylangene, α-copaene, β-bourbonene, 1,5-diepi-β-bourbonene, β-cubebene, β-elemene, α-gurjunene, α-cis-bergamotene, β-aryophyllene, α-santalene, selina-3,6-diene, cda-trans bergamotene, α-humulene, alloaromadendrene, aciphyllene, germacrene δ, β-selinene, δ-selinene, α-selinene, bicyclogermacrene, α-muurolene, germacrene A, α-amorphene, δ-cadinene, (E,E)- α-farnesene, 2-epi-α-selinene, α-cardinene, cadina-1,4-diene, germacrene β, caryophyllene oxide) and others (e.g. phenol, 2,4-bis(dimethylbenzyl)-6-t-butylphenol, cyanogen, octaethylene glycol, octaethylene glycol monododecyl ether, phthalic acid, 6,10,14-trimethyl-2-pentadecanone, carbonic acid, 1,4,7,10,13,16-hexaoxacyclooctadecane, hexagol, butanoic acid, 2,3-dihydro-1,1,3-trime-1H-indene, 2-(diethylboryl)pheny]-15-crown-5, 4-amino-2,6-dimethyl-3-pyridyl-1-adamantanecarboxylate, methyl ester hexadecanoic acid, cyclopenthyl ester 2-methoxybenzoic acid, methyl 16-methylheptadecanoate, 1-propoxy-3,3-diethyltriazene 2-oxide, heptacosane, hexagol). [14][15]

Plant Part Used

Leaf. [16][17]

Traditional Use

The decoction of the leaf of F. deltoidea is used mainly by women as afterbirth treatment. It is believed that it helps to contract the uterine and the vaginal muscles, improve blood circulation and regain body strength as well as for treating disorders related to the menstrual cycle. [16][17]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

Standardised methanol and aqueous extracts of F. deltoidea var. deltoidea leaves at concentration of 10 mg/mL were evaluated for anti-inflammatory activity using lipoxygenase (LOX), hyaluronidase (HAase) and TPA-induced oedema assay methods. Vitexin and isovitexin were used as marker for extracts standardization. The result of LOX assay using 15-soybean lipoxygenase show that both methanol and aqueous extracts from both varieties did not display anti-inflammatory activity via LOX mechanism (0-10.35% inhibition). Result for HAase assay indicated that both methanol and aqueous extracts show moderate anti-inflammatory property by inhibiting HAase at 47.05-62.95% and 48.97-51.00% inhibition activity respectively. TPA-induced ear oedema test result shows that anti-inflammatory activity of methanolic extracts (38.74-80.46%) was comparable to apigenin, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, indomethacin, which were used as control. However, aqueous extracts show very low activity in this test (8.38-22.53% inhibition). This study indicates that standardized extracts of leaves of F. deltoidea possess anti-inflammatory properties. [18]


Acute toxicity

Oral single dose acute toxicity study using aqueous mixture of F. deltoidea var. deltoidea leaves on female Sprague Dawley rats (aged between 8 and 12 weeks old) showed no toxic effect on the parameters observed which includes behaviors, body weight, food and water intakes. All rats were observed for 14 days prior to necropsy. No death was found throughout the study period. Necropsy revealed no significant abnormality. LD50 > 2000 mg/kg. [19]

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing




Figure 5: The line drawing of F. deltoidea. [5]


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