Thursday, November 26, 2015

Stranglers

In tropical rainforests strangler fig seeds germinate in the tree canopy and send roots downwards until they reach the soil. Then, as their roots grow they strangle the tree that originally supported their seedling stage. You can watch a video of the whole process by clicking here.

Here in our temperate woodlands we don't have anything quite that dramatic, but we do have honeysuckle that sometimes strangles trees from the ground upwards.



When honeysuckle seeds are voided by birds that eat the berries they often germinate close to trees that the birds were perching on. If they can't twine around the tree honeysuckle stems will twist around each other, becoming mutually supportive as these three have, forming a rope-like trunk but ....






... if they can find a sapling tree to coil around, so much the better. This one coiled around a young rowan and its grip is so tight that it has already distorted the swelling trunk of its host, which is still growing rapidly, so .....






































.... if you fast forward a few years, this is the result. This swelling rowan trunk, distorted into a spiral by the tight grip of the honeysuckle, has grown out over the climber's stem, so that it's now embedded inside the trunk of the rowan along part of its length. The rowan has engulf the honeysuckle, but both are still growing well.

One day this might make a good walking stick!




5 comments:

  1. I was waiting for you to slip in a reference to 'Hanging around', that perennial Stranglers' track...

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  2. I did not know you were going to write THAT. A walking stick. Ha! You are fun.

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    Replies
    1. maybe one like these, Kate
      http://www.caneman2.com/honeysuckle/honeysuckle.html

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