HOW OLD IS IT?
The Curtain Fig Tree located 1 kilometre from Yungaburra is probably the best-known tree on Atherton Tablelands. This magnificent 15-metre high specimen of Ficus virens is estimated to be about 500 years old and is one of the largest of its type in Far North Queensland. Access is via a short walk on a boardwalk from the car park through dense rainforest to the base of the tree where the boardwalk circumnavigates the trunk. Sometimes, off to the side of the Boardwalk are examples of the notorious Stinging Tree. A very nasty scrub and often wonder how aboriginals avoided and/or treated it’s sting.
HOW DID IT GROW?
The Curtain Fig is a fine example of Strangler Figs and receives that title because of the way it grows. Usually, a seed is deposited in the branches of another tree via bird droppings and as the tree begins to grow, it sends down roots (usually guided by the trunk of the host tree) to the ground. The young fig initially feeds on algae and waste matter that has accumulated on the truck of the host tree until the roots reach the forest floor so although they eventually kill their host; they are not a parasite but rather an epiphyte. Once making contact with the ground, the fig will grow quickly, finally depriving the host tree of the essentials required to survive. By the time the host tree dies the fig’s root system provides enough support for it to grow independently.
IS IT UNIQUE?
More information can be found at http://www.cairnsaustraliatravelguide.com/curtain-fig-tree.html
or have a look at the Perentie Tours home page