Facts on the Strangler Fig Tree

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A strangler fig--also known as a golden fig--is a type of tree that is often found in tropical areas. It is part of the mulberry family, which features tall, flowering plants.

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  • Strangler figs first grow on the branches of another tree such as a cabbage palm. Their seeds are deposited on the other tree through animal feces. The trees grow long roots, stretch around the host tree, take the other tree's sunlight and kill it. After the other tree dies, stranger figs take its place.

Roots

  • The roots of strangler figs extend from their branches, which grow downward. The roots eventually grow into the soil, then develop into tree branches.

Appearance

  • The trees can grow to 50 to 60 feet in height and have a diameter of 2 and 4 feet. The University of Florida Department of Forest Resources and Conservation states the trees have gray bark and pointed-tip leaves with a yellowish-green color.

Uses

  • Stranger figs feature a hollow trunk in which animals such as bats, monkeys, rodents and birds can live. They also provide yellow and purple fruit to these and other animals.

Pollination

  • Wasps are often responsible for pollinating the flowers of strangler figs. They pollinate some flowers while laying their eggs in other flowers.

Significance

  • Strangler figs are considered sacred to many Hindus because they believe the Buddha once sat under a strangler fig to meditate. The ficus religiosa is a type of strangler fig in India that is considered sacred.

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