Friday, October 26, 2007

The Stangler

In the cloud forest of Costa Rica, a sticky seed landed in the moist upper branches of a tree. It lay there innocuous. A sudden breeze ruffled the leaves making the tree shudder. From the canopy a bird took off squawking.

The seed stayed.

In the humidity of the forest, soon the seed’s roots trailed down the side of the branch, as it also reached for the sunlight far away.

This was no ordinary epiphyte. It was…a Strangler.

As the tree grew so did its guest. Like a constrictor, the roots wrapped around the tree--shading, squeezing, crushing, girdling. Killing.

In the end the host tree died and the Strangler Fig stood alone triumphant, a columnar tree, where another tree had once been.


Lavender said...

I love them, they are so dramatic with thier roots surrounding the host plant....great shot by the way!

Anonymous said...

Great photo and dramatization. Spooky ole Nature! Nice to see a tropical shot this time of year, too.