How to strangle a tree

On the entry for Sept 2nd, I wrote about people wanting to strangle one of my characters.

So today I thought I’d write about strangling a tree. (Ok, give me a good reason why not.)

If you look at the first photo, you will see that an enormous rainforest tree – with huge buttresses a la medieval cathedral, for exactly the same reason as a cathedral – so it doesn’t fall down. It has something else clinging to it besides my daughter. A ficus tree – commonly called a strangler fig – is using it as a support. Not having to grow a thick trunk itself means the ficus can reach the sunlight quickly. Once there, it spreads out its canopy and puts down roots growing against the tree into the soil far below.

Eventually it surrounds the original tree, uses all its sunlight and nutrients from the soil and starves it to death. And you are left with a hollow ficus, and no “parent” tree – it has been killed. Starved, actually, rather than strangled.

A slow way to go. The forest is sometimes not a pleasant place in the survival game.


How to strangle a tree — 3 Comments

  1. Once again it interests me how life in the forest can parallel patterns of human behaviour. There are people like the ficus tree, who use others (and destroy them) to get where they want.

    On a darker note, it might also pass as a parallel for how humanity exploits and destroys the natural environment in its drive toward ‘civilisation’. 😮

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