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Strangler Fig

Ficus sp.

Description:

hollow strangler fig

Habitat:

rainforest

Notes:

The tree this fig strangled has totally died and rotted away, leaving a hollow fig. Spotted in Baobeng Fiema monkey sanctuary. One of my favorite trees.

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41 Comments (1–25)

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 10 years ago

Your welcome Nathan.

NathanC.Fields
NathanC.Fields 10 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 11 years ago

Thanks TL!

TL
TL 11 years ago

nice perspective!

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 11 years ago

Thanks bbprevas

bbprevas
bbprevas 11 years ago

great picture up the inside.

achmmad
achmmad 12 years ago

Yes Dan, its strange :) @Tom: probably your quote is right, I can see that fig is sometime a holy trees or I don't know, sacred.

tplattenberger
tplattenberger 12 years ago

I think I might be getting ready to "bear spiritual fruit" ...if I don't strangle someone first.

Tom

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 12 years ago

Great article achmmad! It really explains it well, though get a bit strange when it compares the strangular fig to being a good christian.
Thanks jessica!

Jpudussery
Jpudussery 12 years ago

gorgeous tree, great shot!

achmmad
achmmad 12 years ago
achmmad
achmmad 12 years ago

You're welcome Dan! may be I need to check it also. I think its not to hard because fig is one of the unique plant found at tropical rain forest.

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 12 years ago

Thanks Goody and achmmad for your input on this. @Tom, what can I say? I still stick with my original comment about the strangler fig.

achmmad
achmmad 12 years ago

Off course its vary among species. I don't know about ficus and palm since I just have see small one on king palm trunk. Palm is a monocot.

I think it caused by fast growing of ficus root. And as far as i have understand, only damaged or infected stem can bulge out. This one which has done by ficus is a mechanic.

Anyway, I just look at the spaces between ficus root above. Look at the higher position, there are two windows (hollow) that wider than the others. Possibly this ficus formerly grown on the branch point. So, it will leave the big hollow on it's side because there are two big stem branch that persist until this roots become permanent. I just observed in some of legume and ficus is growing on the center of the branch. And the cross-root (relatively to the hollow) is the place where ficus grown for the first time. off course this case won't work at palm since palms rarely have stem branch.

tplattenberger
tplattenberger 12 years ago

Achmmad, Dan, & All...

Yes, most trees get their nutrition from below, traveling just under the bark. But Palms do not. In my area, I can observe many figs climbing palms and yes, often I can see that, like other trees, the palm has died. Perhaps the fig is making a canopy so dense that it kills the host.

When a growing tree trunk is being constricted by something like another tree's branch or fence wire pressing against it, the tree trunk will bulge out in the place where it is not constricted. I have not observed any fig host trees doing this.

(But with an open mind, I will watch for that.)

Tom

Aaron_G
Aaron_G 12 years ago

I really like the perspective of the first shot.

achmmad
achmmad 12 years ago

One more, I see a trees with three leaves: Ficus, Artocarpus and a certain species. My mother and father showed me, and its real. The ficus actually can grow optimal, left the host stand with it white big stem. Try to get it if possible ... just km from my hometown ...

achmmad
achmmad 12 years ago

Hi tplattenberger ... thanks for great story you have! Just notice that they capable to stop host stem growth. So, I personally called it passive strangling. I don't know why sometime the host die, may be come from competition of nutrition and not-growth stem, xylem inside lignified and the tissue grow old. No more floem produced means that there are no sugar transport from the leaves to root through stem (bark). And again, passive strangler although the figs are grow outward and inward, but their press on host stem just give little effect. :) *sorry for bad English ...

tplattenberger
tplattenberger 12 years ago

Hello again, Dan and All...

It has been a while since I looked at this photo. Now, I am reminded of a place I occasionally visited, some 30 years ago, near Berkeley, California. We called it the Tree Circus. It was a grove of trees that I now presume was ficus. It was abandoned and overgrown, but at one time, someone had spent a lot of time, manipulating these trees into fantastic shapes. Many were braided together in groups. There were big circles of trees that were woven together in indicate patterns. Children could squeeze inside to play and climb. The last time I visited, the whole area was to be dozed for a condo project. So the tree circus is long gone but not forgotten. Somewhere, I have some pretty cool black and white photos.

Meanwhile... Dan, I have still not let-go, my theory that the fig is not really strangling its host.

SandiSawyerr
SandiSawyerr 12 years ago

amazing. - Adjua.

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 12 years ago

Thanks Kittycat!

Kittycat22
Kittycat22 12 years ago

How cool!

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 12 years ago

James, I added another photo.

ja.emmans
ja.emmans 12 years ago

i would love to see this tree from the usual angle. Maybe other people have posted this already, I better check..

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 13 years ago

Tom
I believe the mortality of the host tree is caused by the constriction of the fig, and not by the fig outliving its host. The constriction reduces the host trees ability to transport nutrients to and from its own crown. Strangler figs are very aggressive. True, sometimes they live happily together but I think the host will eventually die. Maybe the fig hasn't evolved in the best way but like you said, the host allows the fig to thrive in the canopy and maybe longevity isn't the key here. The fig will have flowered and fruited many times before it's hosts possible death and before its potential collapse after the hosts death.

Dan Doucette
Spotted by
Dan Doucette

Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana

Spotted on Dec 22, 2003
Submitted on Apr 22, 2011

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