Strangler Fig

Ta Som, Angkor

This strangler fig (Ficus religiosa) has grabbed ahold of Ta Som's eastern outer gopura, and seemingly will not let go (another example). The photo is taken from the east, outside of the third enclosure. Strangler figs grow from the top of their supporting tree down. The victimized tree is overshadowed by the strangler's leaf canopy, and eventually dies from lack of sunlight; but the strangler's fruit provides food for many forest creatures, and is an essential part of the forest ecosystem. The strangler's roots are seen in this photo, as they descend from the victimized tree down through the stones of the gopura on their way into the ground.