I almost walked past this today without noticing anything unusual. Just a normal tree right? Actually it is an impressive example of a Strangler Fig which has all but taken over its original host. These plants begin life when their bird-dispersed seeds germinate in the trunk crevices. The seedlings grow their roots downward and envelop the host tree while also growing upward to reach into the sunlight zone above the canopy.
The original support tree can sometimes die, so that the strangler fig becomes a “columnar tree” with a hollow central core. In this case the original tree has all but died and the canopy belongs to the fig. This particular fig is be found in the car park of the Taksin Maharat National Park located in Tak Province in the mountains between Mae Sot and Tak. Actually I was visiting the park, on the way back home from a work assignment, with the intention to visit a famous tree – more on that on my next blog.