Ficus (/ˈfaɪkəs/ or /ˈfiːkəs/) is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes and hemiepiphytes in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The common fig (F. carica) is a temperate species native to southwest Asia and the Mediterranean region (from Afghanistan to Portugal), which has been widely cultivated from ancient times for its fruit, also referred to as figs. The fruit of most other species are also edible though they are usually of only local economic importance or eaten as bushfood. However, they are extremely important food resources for wildlife. Figs are also of considerable cultural importance throughout the tropics, both as objects of worship and for their many practical uses.
|Sycamore fig, Ficus sycomorus|
About 800, see text
Ficus is a pan-tropical genus of trees, shrubs and vines occupying a wide variety of ecological niches; most are evergreen, but some deciduous species are endemic to areas outside of the tropics and to higher elevations. Fig species are characterized by their unique inflorescence and distinctive pollination syndrome, which utilizes wasp species belonging to the family Agaonidae for pollination.
The specific identification of many of the species can be difficult, but figs as a group are relatively easy to recognize. Many have aerial roots and a distinctive shape or habit, and their fruits distinguish them from other plants. The fig fruit is an enclosed inflorescence, sometimes referred to as a syconium, an urn-like structure lined on the inside with the fig's tiny flowers. The unique fig pollination system, involving tiny, highly specific wasps, known as fig wasps that enter via ostiole these sub-closed inflorescences to both pollinate and lay their own eggs, has been a constant source of inspiration and wonder to biologists. Finally, there are three vegetative traits that together are unique to figs. All figs possess a white to yellowish latex, some in copious quantities; the twig has paired stipules or a circular stipule scar if the stipules have fallen off; and the lateral veins at the base of the leaf are steep, forming a tighter angle with the midrib than the other lateral veins, a feature referred to as "tri-veined".
There are no unambiguous older fossils of Ficus. However, current molecular clock estimates indicate that Ficus is a relatively ancient genus being at least 60 million years old, and possibly as old as 80 million years. The main radiation of extant species, however, may have taken place more recently, between 20 and 40 million years ago.
Some better-known species that represent the diversity of the genus include the common fig, a small temperate deciduous tree whose fingered fig leaf is well known in art and iconography; the weeping fig (F. benjamina), a hemi-epiphyte with thin tough leaves on pendulous stalks adapted to its rain forest habitat; the rough-leaved sandpaper figs from Australia; and the creeping fig (F. pumila), a vine whose small, hard leaves form a dense carpet of foliage over rocks or garden walls.
Moreover, figs with different plant habits have undergone adaptive radiation in different biogeographic regions, leading to very high levels of alpha diversity. In the tropics, it is quite common to find that Ficus is the most species-rich plant genus in a particular forest. In Asia as many as 70 or more species can co-exist. Ficus species richness declines with an increase in latitude in both hemispheres.
Figs are keystone species in many tropical forest ecosystems. Their fruit are a key resource for some frugivores including fruit bats, and primates including: capuchin monkeys, langurs, gibbons and mangabeys. They are even more important for birds such as Asian barbets, pigeons, hornbills, fig-parrots and bulbuls, which may almost entirely subsist on figs when these are in plenty. Many Lepidoptera caterpillars feed on fig leaves, for example several Euploea species (crow butterflies), the plain tiger (Danaus chrysippus), the giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), the brown awl (Badamia exclamationis), and Chrysodeixis eriosoma, Choreutidae and Copromorphidae moths. The citrus long-horned beetle (Anoplophora chinensis), for example, has larvae that feed on wood, including that of fig trees; it can become a pest in fig plantations. Similarly, the sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) is frequently found as a pest on figs grown as potted plants and is spread through the export of these plants to other localities. For a list of other diseases common to fig trees, see List of foliage plant diseases (Moraceae).
The wood of fig trees is often soft and the latex precludes its use for many purposes. It was used to make mummy caskets in Ancient Egypt. Certain fig species (mainly F. cotinifolia, F. insipida and F. padifolia) are traditionally used in Mesoamerica to produce papel amate (Nahuatl: āmatl). Mutuba (F. natalensis) is used to produce barkcloth in Uganda. Pou (F. religiosa) leaves' shape inspired one of the standard kbach rachana, decorative elements in Cambodian architecture. Indian banyan (F. bengalensis) and the Indian rubber plant, as well as other species, have use in herbalism.
Figs have figured prominently in some human cultures. There is evidence that figs, specifically the common fig (F. carica) and sycamore fig (Ficus sycomorus), were among the first – if not the very first – plant species that were deliberately bred for agriculture in the Middle East, starting more than 11,000 years ago. Nine subfossil F. carica figs dated to about 9400–9200 BCE were found in the early Neolithic village Gilgal I (in the Jordan Valley, 13 km north of Jericho). These were a parthenogenetic type and thus apparently an early cultivar. This find predates the first known cultivation of grain in the Middle East by many hundreds of years.
The 1889 book 'The Useful Native Plants of Australia’ records that Ficus aspera had the common names "Rough-leaved Fig", "Purple Fig" and "White Fig" and that Indigenous Australians of the Rockhampton region referred to them as "Noomaie" and in Cleveland Bay (Queensland) "Balemo". It also states that the fruit which is black can be eaten.
Many fig species are grown for their fruits, though only Ficus carica is cultivated to any extent for this purpose. The fig fruits, important as both food and traditional medicine, contain laxative substances, flavonoids, sugars, vitamins A and C, acids and enzymes. However, figs are skin allergens, and the latex is a serious eye irritant.
A fig "fruit" is a type of multiple fruit known as a syconium, derived from an arrangement of many small flowers on an inverted, nearly closed receptacle. The many small flowers are unseen unless the fig is cut open. In Chinese the fig is called wú huā guǒ (simplified Chinese: 无花果; traditional Chinese: 無花果), "fruit without flower". In Bengali, where the common fig is called dumur, it is referenced in a proverb: tumi jeno dumurer phool hoe gele ("You have become [invisible like] the dumur flower").
The syconium often has a bulbous shape with a small opening (the ostiole) at the outward end that allows access to pollinators. The flowers are pollinated by very small wasps that crawl through the opening in search of a suitable place to lay eggs. Without this pollinator service fig trees could not reproduce by seed. In turn, the flowers provide a safe haven and nourishment for the next generation of wasps. This accounts for the frequent presence of wasp larvae in the fruit, and has led to a coevolutionary relationship. Technically, a fig fruit proper would be only one of the many tiny matured, seed-bearing gynoecia found inside one fig – if you cut open a fresh fig, individual fruit will appear as fleshy "threads", each bearing a single seed inside. The genus Dorstenia, also in the fig family (Moraceae), exhibits similar tiny flowers arranged on a receptacle but in this case the receptacle is a more or less flat, open surface.
Fig plants can be monoecious (hermaphrodite) or gynodioecious (hermaphrodite and female). Nearly half of fig species are gynodioecious, and therefore have some plants with inflorescences (syconium) with long styled pistillate flowers, and other plants with staminate flowers mixed with short styled pistillate flowers. The long flowers styles tend to prevent wasps from laying their eggs within the ovules, while the short styled flowers are accessible for egg laying.
All the native fig trees of the American continent are hermaphrodites, as well as species like Indian banyan (F. benghalensis), weeping fig (F. benjamina), Indian rubber plant (F. elastica), fiddle-leaved fig (F. lyrata), Moreton Bay fig (F. macrophylla), Chinese banyan (F. microcarpa), sacred fig (F. religiosa) and sycamore fig (F. sycomorus).
On the other hand, the common fig (Ficus carica) is a gynodioecious plant, as well as lofty fig or clown fig (F. aspera), Roxburgh fig (F. auriculata), mistletoe fig (F. deltoidea), F. pseudopalma, creeping fig (F. pumila) and related species.
The hermaphrodite common figs are called "inedible figs" or "caprifigs"; in traditional culture in the Mediterranean region they were considered food for goats (Capra aegagrus). In the female fig trees, the male flower parts fail to develop; they produce the "'edible figs". Fig wasps grow in common fig caprifigs but not in the female syconiums because the female flower is too long for the wasp to successfully lay her eggs in them. Nonetheless, the wasp pollinates the flower with pollen from the caprifig it grew up in. When the wasp dies, it is broken down by enzymes (Ficain) inside the fig. Fig wasps are not known to transmit any diseases harmful to humans.
When a caprifig ripens, another caprifig must be ready to be pollinated. In temperate climes, wasps hibernate in figs, and there are distinct crops. Caprifigs have three crops per year; common figs have two. The first crop (breba) is larger and more juicy, and is usually eaten fresh. In cold climates the breba crop is often destroyed by spring frosts. Some parthenocarpic cultivars of common figs do not require pollination at all, and will produce a crop of figs (albeit sterile) in the absence of caprifigs or fig wasps.
Depending on the species, each fruit can contain hundreds or even thousand of seeds. Figs can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, air-layering or grafting. However, as with any plant, figs grown from seed are not necessarily genetically identical to the parent and are only propagated this way for breeding purposes.
Each species of fig is pollinated by one or a few specialised wasp species, and therefore plantings of fig species outside of their native range results in effectively sterile individuals. For example, in Hawaii, some 60 species of figs have been introduced, but only four of the wasps that fertilize them have been introduced, so only four species of figs produce viable seeds there and can become invasive species. This is an example of mutualism, in which each organism (fig plant and fig wasp) benefit each other, in this case reproductively.
The intimate association between fig species and their wasp pollinators, along with the high incidence of a one-to-one plant-pollinator ratio have long led scientists to believe that figs and wasps are a clear example of coevolution. Morphological and reproductive behavior evidence, such as the correspondence between fig and wasp larvae maturation rates, have been cited as support for this hypothesis for many years. Additionally, recent genetic and molecular dating analyses have shown a very close correspondence in the character evolution and speciation phylogenies of these two clades.
According to meta-analysis of molecular data for 119 fig species 35% (41) have multiple pollinator wasp species. The real proportion is higher because not all wasp species were detected. On the other hand, species of wasps pollinate multiple host fig species. Molecular techniques, like microsatellite markers and mitochondrial sequence analysis, allowed a discovery of multiple genetically distinct, cryptic wasp species. Not all these cryptic species are sister taxa and thus must have experienced a host fig shift at some point. These cryptic species lacked evidence of genetic introgression or backcrosses indicating limited fitness for hybrids and effective reproductive isolation and speciation.
The existence of cryptic species suggests that neither the number of symbionts nor their evolutionary relationships are necessarily fixed ecologically. While the morphological characteristics that facilitate the fig-wasp mutualisms are likely to be shared more fully in closer relatives, the absence of unique pairings would make it impossible to do a one-to-one tree comparison and difficult to determine cospeciation.
With 800 species, Ficus is by far the largest genus in the Moraceae, and is one of the largest genera of flowering plants currently described. The species currently classified within Ficus were originally split into several genera in the mid-1800s, providing the basis for a subgeneric classification when reunited into one genus in 1867. This classification put functionally dioecious species into four subgenera based on floral characters. In 1965, E. J. H. Corner reorganized the genus on the basis of breeding system, uniting these four dioecious subgenera into a single dioecious subgenus Ficus. Monoecious figs were classified within the subgenera Urostigma, Pharmacosycea and Sycomorus.
This traditional classification has been called into question by recent phylogenetic studies employing genetic methods to investigate the relationships between representative members of the various sections of each subgenus. Of Corner's original subgeneric divisions of the genus, only Sycomorus is supported as monophyletic in the majority of phylogenetic studies. Notably, there is no clear split between dioecious and monoecious lineages. One of the two sections of Pharmacosycea, a monoecious group, form a monophyletic clade basal to the rest of the genus, which includes the other section of Pharmacosycea, the rest of the monoecious species, and all of the dioecious species. These remaining species are divided into two main monophyletic lineages (though the statistical support for these lineages isn't as strong as for the monophyly of the more derived clades within them). One consists of all sections of Urostigma except for section Urostigma s. s.. The other includes section Urostigma s. s., subgenus Sycomorus, and the species of subgenus Ficus, though the relationships of the sections of these groups to one another are not well resolved.
Numerous species of fig are found in cultivation in domestic and office environments, including:
Fig trees have profoundly influenced culture through several religious traditions. Among the more famous species are the sacred fig tree (Pipal, bodhi, bo, or po, Ficus religiosa) and the banyan fig (Ficus benghalensis). The oldest living plant of known planting date is a Ficus religiosa tree known as the Sri Maha Bodhi planted in the temple at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka by King Tissa in 288 BCE. The common fig is one of two significant trees in Islam, and there is a sura in Quran named "The Fig" or At-Tin (سوره تین). In Asia, figs are important in Buddhism and Hinduism. In Jainism, the consumption of any fruit belonging to this genus is prohibited. The Buddha is traditionally held to have found bodhi (enlightenment) while meditating under a sacred fig. The same species was Ashvattha, the "world tree" of Hinduism. The Plaksa Pra-sravana was said to be a fig tree between the roots of which the Sarasvati River sprang forth; it is usually held to be a sacred fig but more probably is Ficus virens. According to the Kikuyu people, sacrifices to Ngai were performed under a sycomore tree (Mũkũyũ) and if one was not available, a fig tree (Mũgumo) would be used. The common fig tree is cited in the Bible, where in Genesis 3:7, Adam and Eve cover their nakedness with fig leaves. The fig fruit is also one of the traditional crops of Israel, and is included in the list of food found in the Promised Land, according to the Torah (Deut. 8). Jesus cursed a fig tree for bearing no fruit (Mark 11:12–14). The fig tree was sacred in ancient Cyprus where it was a symbol of fertility.
A banyan, also spelled "banian", is a fig that begins its life as an epiphyte, i.e. a plant that grows on another plant, when its seed germinates in a crack or crevice of a host tree or edifice. "Banyan" often specifically denominates Ficus benghalensis (the "Indian banyan"), which is the national tree of the Republic of India, though the name has also been generalized to denominate all figs that share a common life cycle and used systematically in taxonomy to denominate the subgenus Urostigma.Common fig
Ficus carica is an Asian species of flowering plant in the mulberry family, known as the common fig (or just the fig). It is the source of the fruit also called the fig and as such is an important crop in those areas where it is grown commercially. Native to the Middle East and western Asia, it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times and is now widely grown throughout the world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant. The species has become naturalized in scattered locations in Asia and North America.Ficus americana
Ficus americana, commonly known as the West Indian laurel fig or Jamaican cherry fig, is a tree in the family Moraceae which is native to the Caribbean, Mexico in the north, through Central and South America south to southern Brazil. It is an introduced species in Florida, USA. The species is variable; the five recognised subspecies were previously placed in a large number of other species.Ficus aurea
Ficus aurea, commonly known as the Florida strangler fig (or simply strangler fig), golden fig, or higuerón, is a tree in the family Moraceae that is native to the U.S. state of Florida, the northern and western Caribbean, southern Mexico and Central America south to Panama. The specific epithet aurea was applied by English botanist Thomas Nuttall who described the species in 1846.
Ficus aurea is a strangler fig. In figs of this group, seed germination usually takes place in the canopy of a host tree with the seedling living as an epiphyte until its roots establish contact with the ground. After that, it enlarges and strangles its host, eventually becoming a free-standing tree in its own right. Individuals may reach 30 m (100 ft) in height. Like all figs, it has an obligate mutualism with fig wasps: figs are only pollinated by fig wasps, and fig wasps can only reproduce in fig flowers. The tree provides habitat, food and shelter for a host of tropical lifeforms including epiphytes in cloud forests and birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. F. aurea is used in traditional medicine, for live fencing, as an ornamental and as a bonsaiFicus benghalensis
Ficus benghalensis, commonly known as the banyan, banyan fig and Indian banyan, is a tree native to the Indian Subcontinent. Specimens in India are among the largest trees in the world by canopy coverage.Ficus benjamina
Ficus benjamina, commonly known as weeping fig, benjamin fig or ficus tree, and often sold in stores as just ficus, is a species of flowering plant in the family Moraceae, native to Asia and Australia. It is the official tree of Bangkok. The species is also naturalized in the West Indies and in the States of Florida and Arizona in the United States.Ficus benjamina is a tree reaching 30 metres (98 ft) tall in natural conditions, with gracefully drooping branchlets and glossy leaves 6–13 cm (2–5 in), oval with an acuminate tip. In its native range, its small fruit are favored by some birds, such as the superb fruit dove, wompoo fruit dove, pink-spotted fruit dove, ornate fruit dove, orange-bellied fruit dove, Torresian imperial pigeon, purple-tailed imperial pigeon (Frith et al. 1976).Ficus citrifolia
Ficus citrifolia, also known as the shortleaf fig, giant bearded fig or wild banyantree, is a species of banyan native to southern Florida, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America south to Paraguay. It is distinguished from the closely related Florida strangler fig (Ficus aurea) mainly by the finer veining in the leaves.Ficus elastica
Ficus elastica, the rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush, Indian rubber tree, is a species of plant in the fig genus, native to eastern parts of South Asia and southeast Asia. It has become naturalized in Sri Lanka, the West Indies, and the US State of Florida.Ficus macrophylla
Ficus macrophylla, commonly known as the Moreton Bay fig or Australian banyan, is a large evergreen banyan tree of the family Moraceae native to eastern Australia, from the Wide Bay–Burnett region in the north to the Illawarra in New South Wales, as well as Lord Howe Island. Its common name is derived from Moreton Bay in Queensland, Australia. It is best known for its imposing buttress roots. As Ficus macrophylla is a strangler fig, seed germination usually takes place in the canopy of a host tree and the seedling lives as an epiphyte until its roots establish contact with the ground. It then enlarges and strangles its host, eventually becoming a freestanding tree by itself. Individuals may reach 60 m (200 ft) in height. The large leathery, dark green leaves are 15–30 cm (6–12 in) long.
The fruit is small, round and greenish, ripening and turning purple at any time of year; it is known as a syconium, an inverted inflorescence with the flowers lining an internal cavity. Like all figs, it has an obligate mutualism with fig wasps; figs are only pollinated by fig wasps, and fig wasps can only reproduce in fig flowers. Many species of bird, including pigeons, parrots and various passerines, eat the fruit. Ficus macrophylla is widely used as a feature tree in public parks and gardens in warmer climates such as California, Portugal, Italy, northern New Zealand (Auckland), and Australia. Old specimens can reach tremendous size. Its aggressive root system renders it unsuitable for all but the largest private gardens.Ficus microcarpa
Ficus microcarpa, also known as Chinese banyan, Malayan banyan, Indian laurel, curtain fig, or gajumaru (ガジュマル), is a tree in the fig family Moraceae. It is native in a range from China through tropical Asia and the Caroline Islands to Australia. It is widely planted as a shade tree and frequently misidentified as F. retusa or as F. nitida (F. benjamina).Ficus obliqua
Ficus obliqua, commonly known as the small-leaved fig, is a tree in the family Moraceae, native to eastern Australia, New Guinea, eastern Indonesia to Sulawesi and islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Previously known for many years as Ficus eugenioides, it is a banyan of the genus Ficus, which contains around 750 species worldwide in warm climates, including the edible fig (Ficus carica). Beginning life as a seedling, which grows on other plants (epiphyte) or on rocks (lithophyte), F. obliqua can grow to 60 m (200 ft) high and nearly as wide with a pale grey buttressed trunk, and glossy green leaves.
The small round yellow fruit ripen and turn red at any time of year, although they peak in autumn and winter (April to July). Known as a syconium, the fruit is an inverted inflorescence with the flowers lining an internal cavity. Ficus obliqua is pollinated by two species of fig wasp—Pleistodontes greenwoodi and P. xanthocephalus. Many species of bird, including pigeons, parrots and various passerines, eat the fruit. The range is along the east coast from Queensland, through New South Wales in rainforest, savanna woodland, sclerophyll forest and gallery forest. It is used as a shade tree in parks and public spaces, and is well-suited for use as an indoor plant or in bonsai. All parts of the tree have been used in traditional medicine in Fiji.Ficus racemosa
Ficus racemosa (syn. Ficus glomerata Roxb.) is a species of plant in the family Moraceae. Popularly known as the cluster fig tree, Indian fig tree or goolar (gular) fig, this is native to Australia, Malesia, Indo-China and the Indian subcontinent. It is unusual in that its figs grow on or close to the tree trunk, termed cauliflory. In India, the tree and its fruit are called gular in the north and atti in the south. The fruits are a favourite staple of the common Indian macaque. It serves as a food plant for the caterpillars of the two-brand crow butterfly (Euploea sylvester) of northern Australia.Ficus religiosa
Ficus religiosa or sacred fig is a species of fig native to the Indian subcontinent and Indochina that belongs to Moraceae, the fig or mulberry family. It is also known as the bodhi tree, pippala tree, peepul tree, peepal tree or ashwattha tree (in India and Nepal). The sacred fig is considered to have a religious significance in three major religions that originated on the Indian subcontinent, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. It is the type of tree under which Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment, and Hindu and Jain ascetics also consider the tree to be sacred and often meditate under them.Ficus rubiginosa
Ficus rubiginosa, commonly known as the rusty fig or Port Jackson fig (damun in the Dharug language), is a species of flowering plant native to eastern Australia in the genus Ficus. Beginning as a seedling that grows on other plants (hemiepiphyte) or rocks (lithophyte), F. rubiginosa matures into a tree 30 m (100 ft) high and nearly as wide with a yellow-brown buttressed trunk. The leaves are oval and glossy green and measure from 4 to 19.3 cm (1 1⁄2–7 1⁄2 in) long and 1.25 to 13.2 cm (1⁄2–5 1⁄4 in) wide.
The fruits are small, round and yellow, and can ripen and turn red at any time of year, peaking in spring and summer. Like all figs, the fruit is in the form of a syconium, an inverted inflorescence with the flowers lining an internal cavity. F. rubiginosa is exclusively pollinated by the fig wasp species Pleistodontes imperialis, which may comprise four cryptospecies. The syconia are also home to another fourteen species of wasp, some of which induce galls while others parasitise the pollinator wasps, and at least two species of nematode. Many species of bird, including pigeons, parrots and various passerines, eat the fruit. Ranging along the Australian east coast from Queensland to Bega in southern New South Wales (including the Port Jackson area, leading to its alternative name), F. rubiginosa grows in rainforest margins and rocky outcrops. It is used as a shade tree in parks and public spaces, and when potted is well-suited for use as an indoor plant or in bonsai.Ficus sycomorus
Ficus sycomorus, called the sycamore fig or the fig-mulberry (because the leaves resemble those of the mulberry), sycamore, or sycomore, is a fig species that has been cultivated since ancient times.
The term sycamore spelled with an A has also been used for unrelated trees: the Great Maple, Acer pseudoplatanus, or plane trees, Platanus. The spelling "sycomore", with an O rather than an A as the second vowel is, if used, specific to Ficus sycomorus.Fig
Fig, Fig., FIG, or figs may refer to:
Ficus, a genus of about 850 species of woody trees
Common fig (Ficus carica), the species of Ficus widely cultivated for its edible fruitOpuntia ficus-indica
Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) is a species of cactus that has long been a domesticated crop plant grown in agricultural economies throughout arid and semiarid parts of the world. Likely having originated in Mexico, O. ficus-indica is the most widespread and most commercially important cactus. Common English names for the plant and its fruit are Indian fig opuntia, Barbary fig, cactus pear, and spineless cactus, among many. In Mexican Spanish, the plant is called nopal, while the fruit is called tuna, names that may be used in American English as culinary terms.
Fig opuntia is grown primarily as a fruit crop, and also for the vegetable nopales and other uses. Most culinary references to the "prickly pear" are referring to this species. The name "tuna" is also used for the fruit of this cactus, and for Opuntia in general; according to Alexander von Humboldt, it was a word of Taino origin taken into the Spanish language around 1500.Cacti are good crops for dry areas because they convert water into biomass efficiently. O. ficus-indica, as the most widespread of the long-domesticated cactuses, is as economically important as maize and blue agave in Mexico. Because Opuntia species hybridize easily, the wild origin of O. ficus-indica is likely to have been in Mexico due to the fact that its close genetic relatives are found in central Mexico.Strangler fig
Strangler fig is the common name for a number of tropical and subtropical plant species, including some banyans and unrelated vines, including among many other species:
Ficus aurea, also known as the Florida strangler fig
Ficus barbata, also known as the bearded fig
Ficus watkinsianaThese all share a common "strangling" growth habit that is found in many tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus. This growth habit is an adaptation for growing in dark forests where the competition for light is intense. These plants are hemiepiphytes, spending the first part of their life without rooting into the ground. Their seeds, often bird-dispersed, germinate in crevices atop other trees. These seedlings grow their roots downward and envelop the host tree while also growing upward to reach into the sunlight zone above the canopy.An original support tree can sometimes die, so that the strangler fig becomes a "columnar tree" with a hollow central core. However, it is also believed that the strangler fig can help the support tree survive storms.Up the Long Ladder
"Up the Long Ladder" is the 18th episode of the second season of the syndicated American science fiction television show Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 44th episode overall, first broadcast on May 22, 1989.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. In this episode, the Enterprise becomes involved in two previously unknown Earth colonies' struggle for survival.
Genera of Moraceae