You might have seen my earlier post about Strangler Figs.
When I traveled to Belize this spring, I got a chance to see those strangler figs in action! Deep in the jungle, among the Mayan ruins, are many trees slowly being swallowed up by the relentless aerial roots of strangler figs creeping downward to earth from their canopy cradles and devouring their host trees in the process. These are the plant worlds’s woody boa constrictors, smothering and suffocating the life out of their nursery trees as they engulf them on their way to solid ground.
This is the end result, a majestic tree with a trunk and roots resembling a waterfall poured down from an azure sky and leafy green canopy above, its roots cascading over a rocky pedestal.
Here is what it looks like along the way, a baby strangler fig’s roots slowing snaking their way down an unsuspecting palm tree’s trunk, enveloping it:
Until the roots hit terra firma and slither out in all directions.
* English is the official language of Belize — it was formerly a British colony, just like us. But Spanish is widely spoken, just like home, and Creole and various Mayan-derived dialects are also used.