(lamingtonnationalpark.net.au is under new management, this article previously appeared on the old website and was not written by the new site owners.)
The Strangler Fig is a tall canopy, widely buttressed tree which grows to 45m in height. The top of this tree spreads like an umbrella. It features light coloured bark. In the rainforest the strangler fig germinates only in the branches of a host tree from the seed deposited by birds. Many roots are sent down and they gradually envelope and strangle the host tree leaving the fig in its place. There are five species of strangler fig represented in the Park.
Leaves:Leaves are simple, large, glossy green above and paler below. Commonly betwwen 4 and 7cm in length.
Flowers: The flowers are on the inside of the fruit and are pollinated by a wasp which enters the fruit through a small hole before the fleshy part of the fruit develops.
Fruit: Fruit is large (about 3cm with a nipple on the end) decorative and tasty which means that it is relished by birds. The fig is dark purple when ripe with yellowish dots, fleshy and ovular. They are a most important food tree for birds.
Sub-tropical Rainforest and Littoral Rainforest
A good example of a Strangler Fig is at the start of the Treetop Walk. It has grown around another tree which has since rotted away leaving the fig hollow inside.
Hauser, J. (1992) Fragments of Green – An Identification Field Guide for Rainforest Plants of the Greater Brisbane Region, Rainforest Conservation Society, Queensland.
Nan & Hugh Nicholson (1985, 1988, 1991,1994) Australian Rainforest Plants I, II, III & IV, Terania Rainforest Publishing, Australia.