Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Strange Strangler Figs

The genus Ficus, commonly called figs, is well represented in the Philippine forests. They are food source for birds and other fauna. That is why a lot of figs get to grow in the strangest places. A bird may eat the fig and deposit the seeds very far away from the mother tree. Most of the time they are discarded in the oddest spots, like the branches of trees or cracks in old buildings.

Some Ficus species have adapted to grow thick aerial roots. These roots elongate and thicken, sometimes becoming modified trunks to later support the full grown fig. Particular figs adapted by growing too much of these roots and eventually crumbling the old support they previously depended on. In cases where the old support is a tree, the ficus would tend to strangle the host and eventually kill it off, hence the common name strangler fig.

The most common name given to strangler figs in the Philippines is balete. Balete is a coined word for a number of species like Ficus concinna (dalakit), Ficus philippinensis, Ficus benjamina (salisi) and much more. Baletes are common even urban areas. Nowadays they could be found being used in landscape because of their ease in maintenance. But wild crafted specimens also abound in the most unlikely places like roof eaves of old structures. These are commonly the puzzler plants, making spectators wonder how the tree was planted on such a high place not easily reached by people. The answer is nature.

12 comments:

dr magsasaka said...

A good post!
More, please!

Jack Hammer said...

How do I find edible figs, fit for human consumption in Manila ? Not imported but indigenous.

Noel del rosario said...


It has been founded that Phillipine fig tree can cure cancer !!!!

Unknown said...

We 2 small baletes growing on a malunggay tree. The roots haven't reached the ground yet. Don't know if we should cut them off.

Jovir Amatong said...

very nice post and site you have. more power always ;-)

dede dede said...

great !!......Can you shipp to me some cuttings to indonesia? i can buy it

dede dede said...

great !!......Can you shipp to me some cuttings to indonesia? i can buy it

dede dede said...

great !!......Can you shipp to me some cuttings to indonesia? i can buy it

dede dede said...

great !!......Can you shipp to me some cuttings to indonesia? i can buy it

Yulianti Ida Ningrum said...

😊

Seth Claveria said...

in the end, my question is, can you or can you not eat strangler figs fruit?

Handarius said...

I have many varieties of Fig and able yo sent to Philippines. Contact me if you interested by email: handarius@yahoo.com