This Ficus forstenii strangling fig is growing along the road to Belian Camp next to the entrance to the Wildlife Trail near the Maliau Basin Study Center in south central Sabah- 6 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu. The host tree appears to be dead and the strangler has established several root connections to the ground.

For a photo of the same fig taken 7 years earlier when the host trees was still alive click here.

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Ficus forstenii is one of a few true strangling figs in Borneo. Stranglers  start as epiphytes high in the canopy  usually on a fork or in a knot hole and drop down multiple roots to establish connections with the ground. Once the ground connections are established stranglers produce anastomosing roots which grow together to  “choke ” the host tree with a collar  just below the site where the fig has established as shown in the photo above. Bornean stranglers with similar habits include  Ficus kerkhovenii, Ficus stricta and Ficus virens.  See the link below for Rhett Harrison’s article about stranglers at Lambir Hills park in Sarawak.

Harrison et al (2003) The diversity of hemi-epiphytic figs at Lambir

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The Maliau Basin is in south central Sabah about 6 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu or 3 hours drive from Tawau.