Saturday, January 17, 2015

Deadly embrace of the Strangling Fig

Very disappointed that seemingly no one has shown an interest in how the Higuera posts for palapas and ramadas are found, trained, cut, cleaned and preserved for use. I found one article on how they were made of cement so termites were not a problem (very expensive) and another of a tourist liking them in a resort. It has to be a real craft since the posts are so common here.

I translated the article below from a Spanish Blog with a link at the bottom .... only about the life of the tree. I also came across the bridge foto below that I just couldn't pass up.


The process begins when the monkeys, birds, squirrels and bats eat the fruit of a tree called, strangler fig. 

Certain fig known as [strangler] are parasitic, but with a difference. Of the many species that live in the tropics, some germinate and grow as a common tree, though, to help, usually require a host tree, and continue to evolve so that in the end can do without. But to achieve this independence, the parasitic fig gradually strangling his unfortunate host to death. 

The process begins when the monkeys, birds, squirrels and bats eat fruit strangler fig and casts the seed on the upper branches of other trees [dense palm fronds are most vulnerable]. There, the embryo takes root in litter and humus of leaves that collect in the corners and crevices of the bark, and develop other roots that penetrate and nourish the trunk and branches. As the roots proliferate they intertwine and envelop the host in what looks like a work of basketry. Once it gets a firm hold, the young plant sends more roots into the soil, to start an independent life. 

Thus begins the death of the host, as the extra nutrients the fig obtains directly from the soil gives more energy and strength. Still developing more roots, the hosts trunk is wrapped a labyrinth of troncucos, and these woody roots grow more and more, in a process that can last a century, literally strangles the host tree. The host trunk can no longer expand as it grows, also fig exhaust all the nutrients in the soil. 

The strange final show, after the host has died and has withered, is a robust and mature tree with innumerable [logs] forming a hollow cylinder around the space previously occupied by the original tree. Many strangler figs become real giants. - Eco-Journal-Alternative LA OROPENDOLA 100% 


Bridge made of Higuera roots
Very interesting but it's in India

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The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

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