Strangler Fig (Ficus americana)

I found a great number of strangler figs on palm trees during my stay at Pousada Xaraés. The fig seemed specialized on palm trees – like a subspecies, but I’m unable to find confirmation for this.

This individual is growing around a tree on lower ground, and will be way under water during the wet season. The palm tree is also a loner, so there is no lack of light, and this fact has saved the palm tree! You can see the emerging fig tree on the left side of the palm tree’s trunk. It’s bending around the fronds to eventually overcome the palm and there spread its branches and steadily creating permanent shade for the host.

As long as the fig has the required amount of light needed it seems to stop strangling and expand its girth only outwards!

Strangler Fig (Ficus americana)

In Pantanal it’s usually called figueira mata pau (ficus clusiifolia), but ficus americana is the official scientific name.

Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Last updated on 12 January 2014