Feelings on Ficus

Ficus. The word brings to mind many things – the juicy sweetness of a ripe, freshly picked fig; the summer heat of any tropical or Mediterranean setting; fertility. But recently, Ficus means one thing to me: strangler figs. This may sound morbid, and in a branchy way, it is. Many species of ficus begin their lives epiphytically –  generally after a seed is dropped by a bird or arboreal mammal onto the upper branches of what will become a host tree. Over time, the seeds will germinate and sprout aerial roots, which make their way to the ground by either hanging freely or by crawling down the host tree’s trunk. It is not at all uncommon in Indian forests to see roots hanging from the canopy.

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