Strangler fig tree trivia | Gardening On

In nature there are plants that fight with others, some coexist in harmony with others, but there are some that kill other trees taking away the light and sustenance they get from the earth.

One of them is the strangler fig. With a life expectancy of more than 200 years, it is one of the longest-lived flowering plants that mankind has ever known.

Strangler Fig Habitat

The strangler fig tree, whose scientific name is ficus benghalensisIt is native to the jungles of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, although it currently grows in all regions that enjoy a humid tropical climate. We could say that it is a plant parasite, but unlike those we are used to seeing (such as mistletoe), this species instead of sucking the sap, what it does is grow very fast to prevent its host tree from feeding. Over time, it dies, but the fig tree does not fall because its roots have developed in such a way that they form a solid structure, capable of standing without difficulty.

It is a giant tree, which can occupy several hectares. A curious fact is that he begins his life as an epiphyte, when he clings to a trunk in order to grow. Its leaves are evergreen, of a beautiful green color. And like all Ficus, its fruits are figs, which are red with a length of one centimeter.

Ficus benghalensis leaves

Due to the extensive shade it casts, many Asians make a social life protected from the sun thanks to the strangler fig tree. So much so that they put markets, build temples, or celebrate their special days under the branches of this immense tree.

The ficus benghalensis It is a sacred species for many religions, such as Buddhist or Hindu. And if you want to have one and you have a warm climate, you can have it without having to buy any land. How? Making it bonsai. Yes, yes, you read that right. You can have a lovely strangler fig bonsaisince it tolerates pruning very well.

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Strangler fig tree trivia | Gardening On

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