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Man On Phone and Ficus Tree

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
The focus tree surprises me with those massively long aerial roots!

Is that common where you are?

Never seen that before here!

Asher
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
The focus tree surprises me with those massively long aerial roots!

Is that common where you are?

Never seen that before here!

Asher
A rather common sight in the tropics. they are either a remnant of rainforest which have been happily bulldozed in the name of productivity or planted as a decorative feature in parks and the like.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Peter and Tom,

I did done studying about ficus trees!

These trees, it seems, only get aerial roots, I discovered, under certain strict conditions found in the tropics!

When the canopy is overgrown and creates deep shade, and then the air is humid, near saturation, but the soil is well drained and relatively dry air roots grow down!

So we have tens of thousands of the focus trees in streets and in gardens but never an air root as we don’t have enough shade or humidity and then the soil holds a lot of water anyway!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Well, now there is a puzzle! This tree may well have been the remaining specimen after other trees were cut down, or else it was perhaps transplanted as Tom has suggested above!


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There is obviously no current shade to explain the aerial roots!

But perhaps the South American varieties only need extreme humidity to stimulate these accessory air roots and ultimately new tree trunks!

Asher
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
There are many fixus species. In the Top End of australia we have quite a few from the rain forest the which grew aerial roots to those which have buttress roots. There are some which never have aerial roots and grow in more temperate climates.

The roots you see on this tree are an adaptation for growth in humid climates with well drained soil as you have indicated.
But even when you plant them in the open they will grow aerial roots as a matter of course.

To be sure, dry climates will stunt the growth but they still grow well in most climates with enough water.
The ground roots will then seek out water. They’ll enter drain pipes and grow into houses, lift asphalt from roads, attach to fences.
Because the roots are so shallow they are blown over during the cyclones and cause some damage. For this reason, the local council will no longer plant them in the street.

All ficus have edible fruit. Yes, it does taste like figs. There are some insects which use the fruit as a hatchery for their larvae so take heed when picking one to eat.

One species, given the name Sandpaper Fig has leaves that are rough enough to take your skin off.

Lastly, they are great tree for kids to play in, as long as there’s no snakes in them as well.
 

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
Cali was founded in 1536 so who knows when the trees in the city parks originated.

Quite true there are many Ficus species. They are also known as strangler figs and produce a fig fruit. I guess they can be called parasitic because they grow up around a living tree and strangle it. In Colombia they are called "Higuaron". I have an enormous one on my property. Many many species feed on the figs and I slip on them as I go down the steps to my car.
.
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Since we are on ficus: the sap of ficus trees will cause severe skin burns. Care should be taken when pruning a ficus tree. The burns are caused by photosensitisation, so sunscreen is actually an efficient treatment.
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
Psoralen smostly!

Good for Psoriasis!

BTW, is one ever eating tiny wasps inside the fig fruits?

Asher
If you close your eyes while chomping on a fig you’ll feel something moving in your mouth. It doesn’t alter the taste of the fruit. The locals grind the fruit in their hands first. Or cook it. The kids just eat it because it’s sweet.

we eat ants here so a few wasps isn’t a deterrent.

ive not had an issue with the sap. It is very stick I admit. As a kid I knew the tree as the Rubber Tree. Ficus elastica. When I went to Sri Lanka I saw the rubber trees growing for latex. Seems like the Sri Lankan’s decides there was a better tree. They us a different tree. Hevae something or other.
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
Green tree ants: oecophylla smaragdina

Nasty little buggers.
Most Top End native trees have nests of them.
Walking in forests is hazardous. The ants fall on you and bite. If you disturb a nest you get a shower of ant piss and ants. It stings like all hell.
I’ve tried all sorts of insect sprays but that just aggravates them even more. Best bet is to dive into a pool and rip your clothes off.
they are native to Australia and frequent the tropics.
Last time I had an attack I was cutting down a black wattle. One of their favourites. After 20 minutes I could stand it no longer. Threw myself into the pool. Then returned for another 20 minutes and so on until the job was done.

as part of the introduction to the Top End everyone is introduced to them by tasting them. It’s a pleasant citrus flavour. You just hold it by the head and bite the thorax off.


Making a nest.
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Nest
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