Characteristics of Mexican Strangler Fig Tree (Ficus cotinifolia) in the Wild

Ficus cotinifolia
Mexican Strangler Fig or Bunut (Ficus cotinifolia) is a species of a fig tree that occurs mostly in the tropics, starting from humid Mexico and continuing south to Costa Rica. The trees occupy a variety of habitats, from rainforests, hills, coasts, to secondary forests, and vary in growth from shrubs to upright trees.

Birds love the fruit of Ficus cotinifolia because this makes it very easy to spread and can become an invasive tree everywhere. After all, bird droppings containing seeds will soon grow.

In ancient times, the Mayans used the soft inner bark to make paper.


Characteristics of Mexican Strangler Fig Leaf

Ficus cotinifolia Leaf
Source: Giovannini

The leaves are simple, oblong to oval, 5 or more ribs, green, with long yellowish stalks.


Characteristics of Mexican Strangler Fig Fruit

Ficus cotinifolia Fruit
Source: Giovannini

The fruit is like a berry, round, small, grows at the end of the twig, green when young and red when ripe.


Characteristics of Mexican Strangler Fig Tree

Ficus cotinifolia Tree
Source: Giovannini

Bunut tree can grow in various forms because it is a type of strangler fig. They usually grow epiphytes by riding on other tree trunks and releasing aerial roots, when they mature the air will strangle the trees they host and take their lives.

Ficus cotinifolia can grow in the same places as most strangler banyans, such as on building roofs, walls, street corners, and even between rocky cliffs.

Recognized synonyms for Ficus cotinifolia include:

  • Ficus cotinifolia subsp. myxifolia
  • Ficus glauca
  • Ficus guatemalana
  • Ficus inamoena
  • Ficus jacquelineae
  • Ficus longipes
  • Ficus myxifolia
  • Ficus paraisoana
  • Ficus subrotundifolia
  • Urostigma cotinifolium
  • Urostigma glaucum
  • Urostigma guatemalanum
  • Urostigma longipes
  • Urostigma myxifolium


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