Plants
The Stranglers
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A few varieties of semi-parasitic fig trees create space for themselves in crowded rainforests by strangling their host trees to death.
Once the seedlings of a strangler fig tree take root in the debris or leafy mould found in the crevices of a tree, they send out roots that entwine the tree. The roots get their nourishment from the trunk and branches of the tree.
When the plant grows, it sends out additional roots to the ground in order to begin a new independent life of its own. These roots take up all the water and nutrients from the soil, depriving the host tree of nourishment. As the strangler fig gains energy and strength and matures into a full-fledged tree, its large leafy crown competes with its host for sunlight.

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It is then that its woody trunk-like roots tighten their grip around the host which by now is undernourished and on the verge of decay, and slowly smother it to death. It takes around a hundred years for the strangler fig tree to kill its host tree.



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