A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife
A massive shortleaf fig spotted in Florida City before a trek into the Everglades. I'm fairly certain this is F. citrifolia and not F. aurea due to the smaller leaf veins. Though there is an interesting thing called genetic mosaics where a fig tree will fuse with others of a different species and join together as one super organism. F. citrifoila starts its life as an epiphite binding to and strangling species like oak, cypress, and palm trees. It also can have wide horizontal growth due to their ability to drop horizontal roots that fuse with the parent tree as it ages. Fig trees fruit year round due to be the host of Agaonid wasp larvae, who in turn pollinate the flowers of the tree as adults. In fact this relationship is so unique that different species of fig wasp pair to a species of fig tree, and the fig wasp who pollinates F. citrifolia is Pegoscapus assuetus. They also host other wasps, their parasites, and predators and are considered a keystone species. Their fruit feed birds, primates, and other species even when other fruit is sparse due to their year long pollination efforts. Their vinelike trunks also provide shelter for birds, bats, lizards, and amphibians.
Native to southern Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America south to Paraguay.
Spotted on Jun 5, 2021
Submitted on Jun 5, 2021