One of the most unusual oddities was a Curtain Fig Tree which we visited near the village of Yungabarra. The curtain fig is deep in the rainforest down a gravel road that led to a small national park. We walked from the parking lot into the rainforest on a wooden platform.
The curtain fig looked like a living waterfall with hundreds of roots streaming down from high in the canopy. It looked supernatural, from another planet or created in a laboratory. But it was a living tree, a strangler fig, fichus virens, which is an epiphyte, a plant that attaches to another species but does not use its sap to live.
A boardwalk around the tree allows you to examine its tangled aerial root system.
Strangler figs lean against a host tree and sends its roots into the soil. This curtain fig is more than 800 years old and 15 meters high. When it’s parent tree died, the curtain fig remained in place and continued to grow. The host tree can be seen, tangled in aerial roots at the top of the canopy. A sign detailed the history and botanical features of the tree.
The day we returned to Cairns, we passed many reddish, sandy looking termite mounds visible through the rainforest. I was intrigued by the number, size, color, and unusual shapes of the mounds. I asked Heather to let me out on a side road and walked into the forest to get a few photos.
What do you think, natural formation or something that fell off an alien spaceship? Whatever, you’d never want to camp near one of those things. Something creepy and slimy would like crawl out in the middle of the night and sneak into your tent.
* * * * *
Next: Walkabout Cairns
As many of you know, I also write mysteries and romantic suspense novels.
I recently published my first international thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, which is available on Kindle as well as other ereaders, tablets, and smartphones.
I’m back in Europe for the summer to hire a translator and to research my next book which will also be a thriller based in Milan. I’ll be posting soon from Milan, Stresa, Zurich and other locations.
I have a few posts on another blog, Anatomy of a Thriller, where I write about the process of researching and writing an international thriller. I’ll add more posts there as well.
Please share these links with writers or readers who might be interested.