Cathedral Fig Tree
Adventures in the Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland.
Danbulla National Park is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, unique for its diversity of plants and animals, for its evolution carried over from prehistoric times until now and for its incomparable beauty.
When the visitors step inside the rainforests of Danbulla, they are inside the oldest, live rainforests in the world. The rainforests of North Queensland contain an almost complete record of the evolution of plants and life on Earth. The rainforests are a refuge for rare and endangered plants and animals, most of them unique. In this forest is where the endangered northern quolls find refuge.
Danbulla is a remarkable place to visit for the many activities, including walking, wildlife spotting and exploring. Lake Tinaroo is a great place to visit for many recreational activities. There are six camping grounds located around the beautiful Lake Tinaroo. Camping sites have to be booked and pay a fee. Here is the website for making your booking: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/danbulla
Just off Danbulla Road, there is an impressive strangler fig, Ficus virens.
This strangler fig started its life when a seed was dropped on a branch of a host tree by a bird or bat. The seed germinated on the branch receiving water from the rain and a bit of nutrients from decaying vegetation. Then the seedling grew and started to send its roots to the ground to find more nutrients. Doing that, the fig encircled the host tree and after many years the host tree disappeared, leaving the thriving fig tree.
Cathedral Fig, like all the other fig trees, provide fruit and leaves for many animals, besides offering branches and roots for nesting.
It isn’t known the exact age of the Cathedral Fig, but it is estimated that the majestic fig may be 500 years old. The crown of the tree is big as two Olympic swimming pools and the entire cargo of leaves weighs about a ton. The tree has 72m girth, at least 40 people are necessary to circle the entire tree. Every year the tree, in the dry season, sheds its leaves, but after a few weeks, the fig is covered again with fresh new leaves.
The strangler fig supports many types of epiphyte plants and vines.
A short very easy walk leads to the Cathedral Fig, about 300m return. A boardwalk around the tree allows the visitors to admire the tree in all its glory without damaging the roots.
An aspect of the strangler fig with the many intricated roots.
At the car park, there is a big board with information about Danbulla National Park, its walks and the activities of Lake Tinaroo.
The Fig Tree Tiny Wasps.
The board offers useful information about Danbulla National Park and the area.
The fig trees rely on tiny wasps to get their flowers fertilized. The fig flowers are hidden inside the rounded fig fruit., they can't be seen from outside the fruit. Tiny female fig wasps are attracted by the smell of the female flowers inside the developing fig fruit. The wasps dig a hole inside the fig fruit and lay their eggs inside the female flowers. When the wasps entered the fruit, they fertilized the flowers as well with the pollen carried from other fig fruits.
The larvae develop inside the flowers, inside the fruit, and produce a substance that stops the fruit to ripen, otherwise, the fruit may be eaten and the larvae too! When the larvae of the wasps mature, the males fertilize the female inside the flowers. The male flowers then open and the female wasps get covered in pollen. The female wasps then emerge from the fig fruit carrying the pollen with them and fly off in search of other fruit and begin the cycle again.
How to get to the Cathedral Fig.
Another side of Cathedral Fig.
Cathedral Fig Tree is 45 minutes, about 41km from Atherton town, on the east side of Lake Tinaroo. From Atherton drive on Gillies Range Road, pass the town of Yungaburra and then continue to drive on Gillies Range Road. Turn left on Boar Pocket Road which then becomes Danbulla Road.
There is a car park just off Danbulla Road. A short walk leads to the giant Strangler Fig.
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222387 - 2023-07-09 09:16:51