Strangler fig and golden fig are two common names for Ficus aureum. In Latin, Ficus means edible fig. Birds and other wildlife consume the tiny, many-seeded “figs” (pictured above Queens Island). I did not find them to be especially palatable when I sampled one a long time ago.
The flowers and unripe fruits are golden in color, and aureum means ‘golden flower’.
Strangler figs can grow to be a substantially-sized tree with large, golden-veined leaves. Note the bit of white on the top of the leaf pictured below. The petiole (leafstem) of a strangler fig leaf will exude a milky sap to confirm your field ID.
Strangler fig roots can be quite aggressive and extensive; The aerial roots eventually become trunks. Often, its roots will begin the “boot” of a cabbage palm, and eventually the strangler fig will engulf (i.e., shade out) the palm. Thank you to Karen Schuster for the picture below, taken at Sebastian Inlet State Park, of some substantial strangler fig trunks …
Categories: Wildlife plant