Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Banyan Tree

Since shacking up down here, I've become enamored of those crazy huge trees with a complex web of exposed roots that seem to illogically and impossibly emanate from tree branches, creating Dali-esque crutches and props for them.

They're called Banyan Trees, and they're actually, like lichen, a combination of two different life forms together - the weird extremities are actually what's called Strangler Figs, which are an epiphyte ("air plant") that attaches itself to any given tree and eventually just takes over. I'm perenially interested in life forms like this, such as dodder, Japanese knotweed, bamboo, and the Armillaria fungus.

There are numerous Banyan/Strangler Figs around St. Armand's Key, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, and Sarasota, and I've heard it said that these all spread from thirteen starts that Thomas Edison gifted to John Ringling from Edison's collection on his estate in Ft. Myers. (Newspaper clipping image below from the Lewiston Journal, April 9, 1984.)

No comments:

Post a Comment