A Cruel Garrotter

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A Willow Fig Tree is entangling an oil palm.


Garrotters in the Forests

A Chinese proverb says: “one tree does not make a forest”. This has its reasons. However, in the hot and humid rain forests, we could see scenes such as one-tree forests. The trees that could make such scenes is Council tree, which is a kind of tall arbor tree, and they have relations with the entangling phenomenon in the rain forest. 

Cruel Killer


Council tree belongs to a variety of fruits that have no flowers, and they have altogether 50 varieties. Their fruits are the food of many birds and animals. Since their seeds are small and the shells of the seeds are hard, it is very difficult for the birds and animals to crack them and digest them, so the birds and animals would disseminate to wherever they go. The seeds of more than 20 or 30 varieties of trees have the capacity to grow in the shady and humid environments on the branches. Later on, these root systems grow along the branches and forks of these trees and enter the ground. After they absorb the water and nutrition in the earth, the roots begin to grow very quickly; many roots would grow numerous side roots to cling to the trucks of the trees and would gradually cover the spaces when mingled with other roots. In this way, they would try to entangle the trees that provide conditions for their seeds to grow and to shoot up. This is really ungrateful. The garroting plants are cruel to the plants they entangle, and they would attach them in all directions. In underground, the killers would strive for water and nutrition with them, even if the plants being entangled are in badly needs of water; on the ground surface, the killer's basket-like roots loop the trunks, branches and twigs of the plants being entangled, they would restrict the plants to grow, and would try to stop the conveying of water and nutrition in them; on the top of the plants, the killer trees grow branches and leaves very quickly, and they strive for space and sunlight there. The plants being entangled seldom escape in the rain forest; while the killer would continue to live and would enjoy the nutrition and water in the remains of the plants being entangled by them. 


When the Chinese Banyan completes one entangling process, such as Council tree, its branches would continue to expand. When their huge branches grow to considerable length and are too heavy, the branches would squeeze each other and damage themselves; if they are damaged or broken by other trees in storms or strong winds, the broken branches could grow out some aerial roots in the wounded parts. After these aerial roots grow into the earth, they would absorb the water and nutrition in the soil quickly; they would grow up very quickly and become trunks. These trucks sometime have dozens, and sometimes are hundreds; in this way, they form the scene of “one tree forest”.