Strangler fig

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The final stage: a strangler fig around a dead tree. Costa Rica
Aerial roots that may eventually give structural support

A strangler fig is one of a number of tropical and subtropical plant species. There are some banyans and unrelated vines, and many other species:

All these vines have a strangling habit which is very common in tropical forests.[1] This is an adaptation for growing in dark forests where the competition for light is intense. Strangler figs suck up the nutrients from its victims, causing them to die eventually.

One usually thinks that seeds start on or in the ground and grow upwards. Figs do it the other way round. Birds drop their seeds into the tops of trees, and the parasitic fig plant grows downwards, eventually round the whole tree. If not already at the top, they also grow upward to reach into the sunlight zone above the canopy.[2][3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Zhekun, Zhou & Michael G. Gilbert (2003) "Flora of China" (Moraceae) 5: 21–73. Archived 2006-09-01 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Serventy V. 1984. Australian native plants. Victoria: Reed Books.
  3. Light in the rainforest. 1992. Tropical topics, vol 1, #5. Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine