Seminole Lodge was the winter retreat of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. From around the world Edison brought over a 1,000 exotic plants to Ft. Myers. Among the many odd trees, such as the sausage, coral, snowball and ‘buttered popcorn,’ the banyan (Ficus benghalensis) dominates the landscape and imagination.
With aerial roots that dart like a tongue, and ground roots that writhe like a tail, this serpent swallows everything in its path.
While Florida is home to strangler figs, the Banyan comes from Asia. The 1925 gift from Harvey Firestone has become known as the ‘Walking Tree,’ stretching across an acre (above). The Doda Alada Mara (big banyan tree) of Bangalore, India, devours 3 acres. See more of the Strangler in the slideshow below (photos copyright Randy Cyr)!
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