Chapter 23 Mystery
(web Links)

The Banyan Tree (Blue Planet Biomes)

Trees in the Rain Forest (from the BBC)

Aquatic and Invasive Plants
(Univ. of Florida)

Competition among Plants


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The Hollow Tree

 As you hike through a Central American rain forest on a guided tour on the last day of your tropical vacation, you see many unusual plants and animals. A monkey calls from a distant tree, and a dense fog covers the landscape. Then you stumble on a root and look up. A massive tree stands before you. Its trunk seems to be made up of many intertwined woody branches. Edging closer, you nervously slip your head through one of the larger gaps and look straight up. Inside, you find that the tree is completely hollow.  

This tree, a species of fig, is truly unusual. What happened to the interior of the tree? And how did the tree grow to such a great height if it has no center? Your guide explains that the seeds of this fig species sprout high up in the branches of other forest trees, called hosts. The roots grow downward, through the air. She also explains that the tangled fig "branches" are not actually stems. But your tour ends before all your questions are answered. How does the fig seedling get nutrients? How does the growing fig tree affect its host? Look for clues that explain more about the structure and habits of this strange fig plant. Then, solve the mystery.