strangler fig Moraceae Ficus
aurea Nutt. symbol: FIAU
Leaf: Alternate, simple, entire margins, evergreen, thick, oblong to elliptical, 3 to 5 inches long, shiny dark green above, paler below.
Flower: Small, produced inside of a small round, greenish receptacle, 1/3 inch in diameter that occur in leaf axils near branch tips.
Fruit: Round, 5/8 inch in diameter, no stalk, sticky, turning red when ripe, produced nearly year round.
Twig: Stout, green turning orangish brown, often with hanging aerial roots, contains a white latex sap, leaf scar shield-shaped.
Bark: Thin and smooth, can become finely scaly, ashy to dark gray.
Form: When young it is found growing on other trees with multiple trunks flowing or twisting down the trunk of "host" tree. Later when "host" tree is strangled they stand alone and may be up to 60 feet tall.
Looks like: Moreton Bay fig
Additional Range Information: Ficus aurea is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting strangler fig.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2018 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654