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Ficus Aurea (Strangler fig) is a large spreading tree which can reach 60 or more feet in height, although typically smaller. It has a dense, broad spreading irregular rounded crown with horizontal lower branches often with epiphytes, making the tree as wide as it is tall. The lower limbs have secondary roots developing into slim rigid trunks when they reach the ground. The bark is gray and smooth. The tree may form large surface roots. Leaves are bright green, alternate, oval, simple, with wavy margins and 4 – 6 inches long.
Flowers occur inside the fruits and are oval, round, fleshy, edible, green to yellow and less than 1/2 inch long. They are pollinated by specialty wasps. Propagation is by seeds or cuttings. Ficus Aurea (Strangler fig) has an unusual natural life cycle. Seeds dispersed by fruit-eating birds, germinate in the canopy of a host tree. Seedlings live as epiphytes on the tree until they reach the ground, enlarge, strangle and kill the host tree and replace it.
The tree will grow on a range of soils, dry to wet and is very hardy once established. As a large foliage tree, strangler fig needs considerable space for growth, and hence is best suited to large gardens and parks as an unusual specimen tree. It is appropriate for a native tree garden. Fruit fall presents a litter problem. Strangler fig can also be grown in a small pot as a bonsai.