Enormous, fascinating and magical, the Ficus Macrophylla of Palermo seems to house almost animated creatures. They have grown in two of the most beautiful places of the city: the botanical garden and Marina square.
You can’t mistake them for others; from their branches fall roots that ram into the ground and turn into new “trunks”, causing the tree to expand horizontally. The leaves are similar to those of a magnolia.
In the city there are dazzling specimens of Ficus Macrophylla, and the one in the botanical garden is the biggest in Italy, standing at 25 meters high and 21 meters in circumference. It was imported to Palermo from the Norfolk islands in 1845.
It is a typical plant of the rainforests where it often grows in the form of a climbing parasite. In fact, it germinates on the branch of another tree, spreading its roots around the host trunk, eventually choking and supplanting it, hence the common name of “strangler tree.”
In several cities of Italy are majestic specimens of more than 100 years’ old, and they are located in many urban parks and squares. On the southeast coast of the Sicilian island, in Syracuse, you can admire another impressive example in the archaeological zone.