Dictionary > Strangler

Strangler

Definition
noun, plural: stranglers
(botany) A hemiepiphyte or epiphyte that grows when seed germinates at the canopy of the host plant and then produce many aerial roots that grow down to the ground and eventually strangle its host tree
Supplement
Stranglers are plants that are named based on their tendency to strangle their host plants. They are exemplified by Ficus species (e.g. Ficus altissima, F. aurea, F. barbata, F. benghalensis,
F. burtt-davyi, F. citrifolia, F. craterostoma, F. tinctoria, F. macrophylla, F. obliqua, F. virens, and F. watkinsiana). They are commonly called strangler figs. These plants are hemiepiphytes (or epiphytes) that begin their life as a seed most likely dispersed by a bird to the top of a host tree. From the canopy the seed germinates and then grows roots down to the ground. The fig’s aerial roots eventually encircle the host tree and appear to strangle the host tree. When this happens, the host tree may fail to survive due to competition for light. In spite of the eventual death of the host, the strangler fig continues to grow with its roots growing into the soil, becoming thick, and now serving as additional trunks. The host tree that dies will rot away and leave a hollow cylinder of strangler fig roots. This cylinder of roots is ecologically important since it may serve as shelter or breeding site of birds, bats, and other animals. Strangler figs though are also capable of germinating and developing as independent trees, i.e. without a host tree.
See also:


You will also like...

Plant Auxins
Plant Auxins – Phototropism & Geotropism

Plants produce hormones to regulate their growth. Auxins, for instance, influence plant growth. Know the role of auxin i..

Hominid
The Hominids

The hominid family diversified from the apes around 6 to 8 million years ago. Since then, the evolutionary path has prov..

Community Patterns

Learn about community patterns and the ecological factors influencing these patterns. Revisit some of the ecosystems you..

Physical growth
Physical Development in Humans

This tutorial elaborates on the physical development of humans, particularly from puberty to adulthood. Read this tutori..

Ecological Research Measuring & Analysis
Ecological Research: Measuring & Analysis

This lesson is about the methods used for ecological research, such as quadrat and transect sampling, canopy fogging, an..

Chemical composition of the body
Chemical Composition of the Body

The body is comprised of different elements with hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen as the major four. This tutorial..