Strangler Fig

(Ficus aurea)

The roots of the strangler fig are often thought to be vines growing on a host tree, but Strangler Figs can grow like a normal tree from the ground up; they also may start high up in another tree, such as Cabbage Palm trees, and send roots down to the ground often in a lattice-like pattern. As the roots grow, they wrap around the host tree, sometimes killing it. It is said that Native tribes made a poultice from the inner bark for treating sores and cuts. Reports imply usage of the aerial roots for making lashings, arrows, and fishing lines. Native peoples also used the milky sap (latex) as paint. The tree provides habitat, food, and shelter for a host of wildlife. It is the larval host plant for ruddy daggerwing butterflies.

Information Provided by the Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve
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