Go Fig or Go Home - November Ecoquest

Sarasota-Manatee EcoFlora's November EcoQuest is Go Fig or Go Home! One of the most tropical sights that Florida has to offer is that of a banyan, the common name for Ficus trees which often produce aerial roots. There are only two species of Ficus native to North America, and they are both native to Florida; Ficus aurea, the Florida strangler fig, and the lesser-known Ficus citrifolia or wild banyan tree. Consider leaving these trees to help support local wildlife, especially young figs that are taking over weak or dying trees which they will grow around and replace. The trees provide habitat, food, and shelter for birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. Sarasota and Manatee counties also have many cultivated banyan trees, some of which are spreading on their own and even becoming invasive.

Ficus have incredibly close relationships with their pollinators. Most fig species have only one species of wasp able to pollinate it, and that wasp can only survive on that one species of fig. In order to retain and nourish their pollinating wasps, the trees must constantly bloom. This means that they are very often in fruit, which is the easiest way to tell the two native species of Ficus apart! Ficus aurea, which also usually has larger leaves, has yellow fruits when ripe that are borne close to the stem. Ficus citrifolia, which has smaller leaves and finer leaf venation, has red fruits when ripe that are borne on slender stalks. Many times young figs will start out on the sides of large trees and especially palms which they will purposely grow over and kill as they compete for sun. Often you will also see them lowering aerial roots or growing down the sides of tree trunks but many figs can also grow as free standing trees.

Interested in FIGuring out some Fickle Ficus? Join this month's Ecoquest Go Fig or Go Home! https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/sarasota-manatee-ecoflora-november-ecoquest-go-fig-or-go-home

Publicado por sarasota_manatee_ecoflora_sean sarasota_manatee_ecoflora_sean, 03 de noviembre de 2020

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