Ficus aurea – Strangler fig tree

Ficus aurea – Strangler fig tree also known as golden fig or higuerón, is a tree native to the U.S. state of Florida, the northern and western Caribbean, southern Mexico and Central America south to Panama. Wikipedia describes this tree in this way: In figs of this type, seed germination usually takes place in the canopy of a host tree with the seedling living as an epiphyte until its roots establish contact with the ground, after which it enlarges and strangles its host, eventually becoming a freestanding tree in its own right. Individuals may reach 30 m (100 ft) in height. Like all figs, it has an obligate mutualism with fig wasps: figs are only pollinated by fig wasps, and fig wasps can only reproduce in fig flowers. The tree provides habitat, food and shelter for a host of tropical lifeforms including epiphytes in cloud forests and birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. F. aurea is used in traditional medicine, for live fencing, as an ornamental and as a bonsai. The fruit of Ficus aurea is edible and was used for food by the indigenous people and early settlers in Florida; it is still eaten occasionally as a backyard source of native fruit. The latex was used to make a chewing gum, and aerial roots may have been used to make lashings, arrows, bowstrings and fishing lines. The fruit was used to make a rose-coloured dye. F. aurea was also used in traditional medicine in The Bahamas and Florida.




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