Saturday’s Featured Organism: Ficus watkinsiana

Ficus watkinsiana

This plant adds a whole new meaning to the term "tree-hugger".

Not a single update this week, and I even post the Friday’s Featured Organism a day later. Yes, I suck. Anyway, here’s Ficus watkinsiana, one of the strangler figs, plants that have always been in my top “most awesome plants” list. Their seeds arrive (thanks to birds) on the top of the enormous trees of tropical rainforests, and they germinate there as an epiphyte that kind of looks like a liana. It slowly grows upwards to reach light (in rainforest, it’s a precious resource for which plants engage ferocious slowmo battles) and downwards to reach the ground and grow roots in it, envelopping and “strangling” the host tree with its branches in the process. If the host die and decompose, only the strangler fig will remain, as an hollow column of branches.

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