Strangler Fig - Florida Trees


Strangler Fig

This fascinating killer is often more impressive than its host

 

 

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The Strangler Fig

The strangler fig, often mistaken for a vine, is actually a fast growing tree native to South Florida, The Keys and the Caribbean.

Also called golden fig, the strangler fig (Ficus aurea) depends on cracks or fissures in the bark of a host tree to survive. Once it starts growing. the strangler fig will put out air roots that reach to the ground.

This allows the strangler fig to establish its own root system and become a separate entity from its host.

In the process, the trunk of the strangler fig often encases its host tree, eventually killing or "strangling" it.

strangler fig photo
Famous strangler fig at Mahogany Hammock, Everglades National Park

Similar to the strangler fig is the shortleaf fig (Ficus laevisata) that grows in the same regions. However, the shortleaf fig has broader leaves with a heart shaped base, larger fruits about an inch and longer stems on its fruits and flowers.

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