Strangling the host

Here in paradise we have some superb, vulnerable and endangered species of native rainforest and woodland trees

There is nothing more spectacular than the strangler fig and this one is just divine.

Figtree Corner

In the rainforest the strangler fig germinates only in the branches of a host tree from the seed deposited by birds. Many roots are sent down and they gradually envelope and strangle the host tree leaving the fig in its place. The root structure of this one is quite compelling isn’t it

We have called this area you guessed it Figtree Corner. The cairn in the front is a tribute to Ron White one of our neighbours who was the chair of our Landcare group at the time of his passing. We are growing the native bleeding heart just in the front of the fig. It is one of Erin’s favourite trees.

Native bleeding heart

The strangler fig trees have adapted by starting their lives off as epiphytes, as at the ground level of the rainforest there is little light and a huge amount of competition for water and nutrients meaning that the majority of plants that start off on the ground have to adapt or die. The strangler fig has adapted by using other trees to get itself into the canopy where it is lighter.Strangler Fig Garvins
Once the strangler fig sprouts roots, it begins to use them to strangle the tree. as well as this it competes with the host tree for nutrients and water, then the strangler fig has a large growth spurt like this one in another spot on the farm, and once it begins to grow leaves they are very large and they tend to cover those of the host plant.

This Morton Bay fig recently lost one of its branches in a storm and it was splitting down the trunk. We thought it would die so one of the neighbours has inserted a “baby’ in a pouch on the trunk which seems to be doing very well

Figtrees  (4)

These trees are making me feel old I can remember when I first spotted the Figtree in the third picture and it was no more that a foot long. Scary