THOMAS MARENT / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY THOMAS MARENT / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Strangler fig. View up the root cage of a strangler fig (Ficus sp.). This cavity was once filled by a host tree that has since died and disintegrated. The strangler fig starts growing as an epiphyte (a plant that grows attached to a living plant) in a crevice in a host tree. The roots grow downwards, and fuse, enveloping the host's trunk. When the roots reach the ground it becomes hemiepiphytic and competes with its host for nutrients and water in the soil. Typically the host plant dies. Photographed in Tangoko National Reserve, Indonesia.
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