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Strangler Fig (aka Watkin's Fig)

Ficus watkinsiana


The Strangler Fig is a hemiepiphytic fig that is endemic to Australia and belongs to the mulberry and fig family Moraceae. This is a huge tree by anyone's standard and would have been at least 50 metres (160 feet) high, towering above the rest of the forest canopy. It was one of half a dozen other figs in the immediate vicinity. PS: There was only one spot along this track where I could get any decent photos of this tree, and that was where there was a break in the canopy. There was too much undergrowth to get near the base, and nowhere that I could get a photo of the whole tree in a single frame.


Spotted on the Mt. Mathieson Trail in a dense section of subtropical rainforest at Mt. Mathieson, Spicers Gap. This area is part of Main Range National Park, and the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.


Just a minor dilemma. The genus Ficus consists of about 800 species distributed throughout India, parts of Asia, the Pacific islands and Australia. There are about 40 Australian species, most of which are found in tropical areas, and of those 40, not all are large trees. In this particular area of Main Range NP in southeast Queensland, there is an official government listing of 7 Moraceae species, 5 of which are the genus Ficus.... Category: higher dicots - Moraceae - Ficus ....but none of these trees resemble my spotting, particularly its habit! So what do you do when the official site says your tree doesn't live there? Just dig around for proof that it does! Page 46 of this pdf document lists Strangler Fig (Ficus watkinsiana) as occurring in Main Range NP. That's all I need for a positive ID - Someone better tell the Queensland government their site is missing a massive ficus!

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Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Warwick, QLD, Australia

Spotted on Jun 20, 2018
Submitted on May 19, 2019

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