This is a tree in Miami that's swallowing up other trees

I have a large tree in my yard that I need help identifying. The tree is in tropical Miami, Florida, zone 10b.

It looks like a "Banyan" tree in that it has those roots that drops down and once a root touches ground it spreads and the they all "clump" together. Along the way they eat up other plants that's in their way.

Here are some pictures of the tree. In the first picture you see several trees. The big one is the one I need help IDing.

Here you can see it is taking over a large clump of bamboo palm.

Pictures of the tree roots.

Here is where there is another tree (the one with thorns on it's trunk) being totally swallowed. I don't even know how this happened.

Any idea what this is?

I am pretty sure there is an owl up there.


Well-Known Member
It would be nice to have photos of leaves to get a positive ID. Miamicuse you've got photos of everything except the parts of the tree needed for positive ID. Having said that, my best hunch is Ficus aurea (Strangler Fig) It's in the process of making like Borat and "crushing" what looks to be Phoenix roebellinii (Pygmy date Palm) and Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm) growing beneath it.
Thanks for the replies. I have now some pictures of the leaves below.

Also, when pruning some of the bigger branches, the tree has a milky white glooey sticky secretion, almost like Elmer's glue. I got some on my hair...:eek:

and the palm that was swallowed in it, I am wondering is it going to stay alive? It is growing, but as you can see, it is almost completely embedded in the big tree on the lower trunk.

Even lower see it's barely visible and I think another year it may be totally hidden.

Should I leave the palm alone or should it be pruned off?
Definitely looks like a Banyan tree which I belive is in the Ficus Family. I lived in Key West for many years and are very familiar with them.
As for your poor palm tree, I don't think it's going any where. I don't believe you can save it at this point.
I was lucky to have a beautiful mango tree, but not a Banyan.
I'm not sure how fast they grow, but looks like your going to have to be aggressive cutting the limbs that drop straight down to root. It will continue to grow and grow with the right conditions. I think the largest one is in India, circumference is like 1 -2 miles (don't quote me on that, memory's bad), but left alone it can get huge!!

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The Mexican common name of Ficus aurea is: “Matapalo”, the textual translation of this name is: “tree killer”, so maybe it’s a good time to say goodbye to the palms near that fig

We have here in Mexico another fig that is called by the same common name. Ficus obtusifolia, but the leafs in your photos are more likely to be the first species that @cerviarborist say's.
Welcome to the Tree Buzz @ Adrian! I remember I being in Marco Island, Florida and walking up to this huge amazing tree with shiny green leaves and aerial roots. I sat there staring at the leaves and bark wondering what kind of tree it was. When I picked a leaflet and saw the milky sap come out I realized it was a Ficus! There are quite popular as indoor trees here in Southern Louisiana. The largest one I had ever viewed in person was about 30’ inside a 4 story doctors office in the New Orleans area. I was astonished to see this Ficus sitting in front of me that was 60’ + and had a trunk diameter of about 6’!

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