Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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Strangler Fig Fruit

Canopy.jpg (17299 bytes)
Photo: C & D Frith
Australia's Wet Tropics Rainforest Life

Strangler Fig Fruit: Ficus destruens

  • Many species of fruit-eating birds eat the succulent fruits of strangler figs. The indigestible seeds are then voided by the birds and will germinate in a tree crevice or hole.

  • The young fig starts its life as an epiphyte in the canopy unlike other tree seedlings that have to start their struggle for survival on the forest floor. It grows slowly at first, for there is little water or food for it, but its leathery leaves reduce water loss.

  • The plant puts out long cable-like roots that descend down the host tree trunk to the forest floor and root into the soil beneath. It can then readily absorb nutrients and water and the young fig tree flourishes.

  • The thin roots become thicker and interlace their way tightly around the supporting tree trunk. The expanding leafy crown of the strangler starts to shade the crown of the support tree and its roots start to strangle its host. The host tree slowly rots away leaving a totally independent strangler fig which may live for several hundred years or more.

  • The most famous of all individual fig trees in the Wet Tropics are the 'Curtain' and 'Cathedral' figs, on the Atherton Tablelands.


Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
PH & Fax: 07 4095 3754 International: 61 7 4095 3754

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