Scientific Name: Ficus spp.

Plant Family: Moraceae

Other Names: matapalo

Strangler Figs are common in and around the plazas of El Pilar. These trees actually start out as vines, whose seeds are dispersed by birds. The vines grow downwards from the upper branches of the trees. As the vine grows, it begins to surround the tree and competes for the light. Eventually the vine outcompets the tree, leaving only the Strangler Fig. This fig, because of its growth pattern, evolves to appear similar to a tree. Many times, there is a cavity left where the original tree decomposed. This cavity provides a home for bats and other small mammals.