Moreton bay fig tree, Ficus macrophylla

Moreton bay fig tree, Ficus macrophylla

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aerial roots of Moreton Bay fig, Ficus macrophylla. The picture shows the base of a mature tree up to a height of about 2m. The original trunk is not visible; it is encased in thickened aerial roots that originated from high up in the tree. Small shoots (green) can be seen arising from epicormic buds. F. macrophylla a strangler fig, native to N.E Australia. The tree here was planted in a park; in its native rainforest, it may start life as an epiphytic seedling high up in the canopy of another tree. Aerial roots seek out the soil, and thicken into woody stems, which fuse together. The host plant may be completely encircled, and killed by strangulation. In cultivation as here, F. macrophylla can develop into an impressive spreading tree, more than 50m wide. Aerial roots dropping from long horizontal branches will then serve as props for the whole massive structure.

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Keywords: aerial roots, australia, australian, epiphytic seedling, epipyhte, ficus macrophylla, moreton bay fig, rainforest, strangler fig, tree

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