I photographed a cabbage tree (Cussonia spp) that had seeded itself in the trunk of a palm tree. It appeared to be healthy with a smaller one growing below it.

Five years later, both appear to be thriving.

You can clearly see how the top one has firmly anchored itself to the palm tree.

The roots of the lower one have also got a firm grip on the ‘host’ tree.

It is difficult to spot any roots actually making their way down to the soil at the base of the tree, yet there must be, for it is otherwise difficult to comprehend how else these trees would get the nutrients they need to survive.

13 thoughts on “ARBOREAL CUSSONIA

  1. What an incredible thing to see, Anne!

    I’d actually bet that they both are parasitizing the palm in that their roots are actually extracting nutrients and water from their host – cabbage trees have powerful rock-splitting roots that I’d think are entirely capable of entering the palm’s relative soft and very pulpy wood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dries. This is the only way they could still be flourishing after so long. I imagine the seeds must have been dropped by birds, for I could not see any Cussonias in neighbouring gardens.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The curiosities and wonders of nature – adaptation at its best. We have quite a few Cussonia spicata trees on our mountain. They really do manage to grow in the most seemingly impossible crevices and rocky cliffs.

    Liked by 1 person

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