Palermo’s Over 100-Year-Old Ficus Macrophylla

ficus macrophylla

The Ficus Macrophylla almost appears to be a living creature, bending and swaying its enormous and magical size back and forth.

There are really only two places to see these plants though, but these two spots are among the most beautiful of all places in the city: Marina Square and Palermo’s botanical garden.

While the leaves might be like a magnolia plant, there is no mistaking these Ficus Macrophylla. It has branches that will force themselves under ground, expanding the width of the plant.

The botanical gardens of Palermo house the biggest Ficus plant, boasting an impressive 25 meters high and 21 meters around (so far). This particular plant would come from the Norfolk Islands, and has been here since 1845.

It is often referred to as a “strangler tree” as its roots are known to wrap around nearby ‘host’ trees and supplanting them. It originates from the rainforest, where its frame and aggressiveness have allowed it to be an excellent climbing structure for wildlife.

Throughout the urban areas and bustling squares of major Italian cities you will find many of these plants, most of which are now over 100 years old. Another impressive Ficus Macrophylla can be located in the archeological zone in Syracuse (southeast coast of Sicily).


Don Tano Bongiorno

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About Don Tano

I’m full-blooded Sicilian born from the noise of the Vucciria market and the gentle sound of the waves of Mondello. I grew up eating “pane e panelle” and “pasta con le sarde”. But most of all, I grew up with an awareness: Palermo is a beautiful city to live intensely and to love without question!