What's the puzzle and news with this biggest Ficus Macrophylla ssp columnaris?

This Ficus Macrophylla is different. It's like a huge grove of fig trees. An illusion, though. All come from one tree.

There seems to be an entrance in this jungle of trunks. Don't enter... Standing closer, one gets the impression of facing a Gothic temple with many columns. Hence the name 'columnaris'.

fig columns of  lord howe tree

Depicted are the many fig columns of the oldest Banyan type fig in Europe at the Tenerife botanical gardens of Puerto de la Cruz.


Ficus Macrophylla Puerto de la Cruz versus similar species

  • Age: Older than the Moreton fig tree
  • Similar huge amount of air roots like a Ficus Microcarpa
  • However: more of them than the Moreton bay fig tree most of which are unlike those of the curtain fig the Microcarpa tree.
    The Tenerife Macrophylla variety anchors its entire complex safely to the ground with buttress roots.
  • .
    macrophylla fig trunk
  • No sure signs exist that this Tenerife tree is a bad strangler of host plants like the curtain tree fig Ficus Microcarpa and other Banyans which may be thanks to regular pruning.
  • This impressive trophy of the Tenerife Botanical gardens for plant adaptation is labelled as a Ficus Macrophylla ssp columnaris
  • Origin of the tree: Lord Howe a world heritage island of endemic plants in the pacific with few people and two hours by aircraft from Australia.
  • This Macrophylla fig trunk which is surrounded by much new buttress growth is almost like a baby compared to the Ficus Banyan Benghalensis
  • The giant Banyan tree of India is no match for the beauty of the Tenerife fig either. A fire destroyed its center and now only a very vast forest of air root columns seems to be left.
  • A similar spread out variety called Wonderboom stands in the Pretoria Zoo of South Africa.
  • Meantime the size of the Tenerife specimen's canopy is not mentioned anywhere. Its glossy green fig leaves look about 4cm long.

  • glossy green fig leaves

  • Note above that some fairly strong trunks near the ficus crown seem to have molten together, possibly with air roots that had bunked. This is special indeed.
  • Important question: Is this Tenerife Lord Howe Banyan fig pollinated by the only suitable wasp the Pleistodontes frogatti?

Fascinating wasp and Ficus Macrophylla co-opertion

Note: Both the insects and the florescence with male and female flowers on the same tree depend on each other for pollination or reproduction. In fact the wasp is placing its eggs into the flowers which hatch from the later fruit that is much smaller than the commercial fig.

When the gigantic Tenerife Ficus may not need to strangle

The photo below is another example of my thesis that the famous Tenerife Lord Howe fig is at least not a perpetual strangler. It very much looks like many buttress roots seem to grow into each other which creates strength

Joined hemipiphytes of a ficus columnaris

Here and there solid trunks seem to originate from joined hemipiphytes or buttresses.

Generally, hemipiphytic is partial with any Macrophylla fig. It's never parasitic. Fig air roots are like Tilandias that don't suck from the host plant but live of nutrients in air and moisture and by the sun. Indeed, strangling may only happen when there isn't any strongly rooted epyphyte to lean on from the same mother tree. This observation is also contrary to an earlier statement that the fig from Lord Howe is made up of hemiepiphytes without a distinctive main trunk, The Tenerife Macrophylla has such a center. Anyway, it's a question of time. After all this tree is not even 250 years old unlike the Drago Milenario the so called Icod de los Vinos Millenium tree of more Tenerife dragon trees.

How old are fig trees in general?

  • From about 75 million to 35 million years depending on mutations
  • India's ancient mythology, Greece by Homer and the Bible mention figs

lord howe banyan tree in tenerife

Climate for the Lord Howe Banyan tree The climate in the Tenerife Orotava Valley of Puerto de la Cruz is similar to that of Lord Howe in the Pacific ocean. Both have trade winds with moisture which is vital for the air roots of ficus trees.

Learn more details about the Ficus Macrophylla tree here. From Ficus Macrophylla back to Tenerife botanical gardens Jardin Botanico with a link to more related information.

The latter also includes rare exotic figs at the park.

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