By Vladimir Brezina
This week’s Photo Challenge is Growth.
The Strangler Fig.
From the Encyclopaedia Britannica:
…Beginning life as a sticky seed left on a high tree branch by an animal such as a bird, bat, or monkey, the young strangler lives on the tree’s surface… As it grows, long roots develop and descend along the trunk of the host tree, eventually reaching the ground and entering the soil. Several roots usually do this, and they become grafted together, enclosing their host’s trunk in a strangling latticework, ultimately creating a nearly complete sheath around the trunk. The host tree’s canopy becomes shaded by the thick fig foliage, its trunk constricted by the surrounding root sheath, and its own root system forced to compete with that of the strangling fig. This process can kill the host; if not, the host tree, being much older than the strangler, still dies eventually and rots away and a magnificent fig “tree” is left behind whose apparent “trunk” is actually a gigantic cylinder of roots.