Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



strangler fig
Gaby Gollub, FONZ

Strangler Fig

Strangler figs, a kind of ficus, are parasites. Animals that eat the plant's fruit deposit seeds in their droppings in rainforest treetops, known as the canopy. When a seed germinates, it sends roots down to the forest floor to anchor itself. More and more roots wrap around the host tree and fuse together, and leaves grow to catch sunlight. After many decades, the fig completely cuts off water and sunlight from the host tree, so that the tree dies.

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