Strangling Figs

“These remarkable trees start life as epiphytic shrubs germinating on trees, usually in a fork between branches or on masonry. They put down aerial roots which may encircle the host tree’s trunk and may form, by self-grafting, a stout basket-like network of roots; other hanging roots may reach the ground and become thickened tree trunks.  Stranglers often survive their host tree, but the old idea that the host was strangled is probably wrong as the basketwork of roots does not cut grooves into the trunk.  In the later stage of life, these fig trees may damage the host tree by shading or by competing with it for root space.”  (Source: Plant and Flowers of Malaysia by Ivan Polunin)

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