strangler fig

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Related to strangler fig: Ficus aurea

strangler fig,

common name for a number of tropical plant species, most of them are in the family Moraceae (figfig,
name for members of the genus Ficus of the family Moraceae (mulberry family). This large genus contains some 800 species of widely varied tropical vines (some of which are epiphytic); shrubs; and trees, including the banyan, the peepul, or bo tree, and the
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 family). They include the golden fig, Ficus aurea, of the SE United States. The name strangler fig is used for a number of tropical vines that grow on other plants, often growing over other trees, strangling them, and eventually becoming trees themselves.
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Slender palms supported on stilts, leaves often lost in the canopy; little vines with leaves plastered in neat rows on rocks or tree trunks; huge woody vines thicker than a boxer's arm hanging from tree branches a hundred feet high; trees whose trunks are embraced lightly by the braided strands of a strangler fig, all contribute to this extraordinary variety Shady tracts of tall forest, easy to walk through, alternate with "light gaps" opened by the fall of a forest giant, often already choked with saplings competing to replace the fallen.
We observed the slow progress of the strangler fig, which takes 50 to 60 years to choke the life out of its host tree, saw a laughing falcon in the canopy, watched a green parrot eating fruit in a tree, and thrilled to the sight of a horde of white-faced monkeys turning the leafy cover into their dinner salad.
So too was the villainous strangler fig with its network of aerial roots wrapped around an innocent red carabeen.
The forest-and the Everglades is indeed a rich and unique forest--supported mahogany, seven species of palms, gumbo-limbo, strangler fig, and four species of mangroves.
The hollow kapok tree with the vine-like strangler figs going around it may be man-made, but it is life-sustaining in that it has planters in which real plants grow.
An annual example is green pole beans; two perennial ones are Clinton grapes and strangler figs.