On the main road from Montzuma to Cabuya, there is a very impressive giant Banyan tree, known as Higueron. If you head towards Cabuya, you will find this immense size tree on the west (right) side of the road.
The Strangler Fig Tree
As an epiphyte, this Banyan Tree starts its life. Germinating in the crevices of other trees, its roots has grown eventually and because of its covering and strangling, this tree is also known as ‘Strangler Fig or ‘Matapalo’ or ‘Killer tree’. Birds eat the figs produced by the tree and their droppings germinate over the cracks of host tree. This tree grows very quickly, more quicly than its host tree. Sending the roots down to the earth as its branches grown upwards and these branches grow out to the top of the existing tree. Many also believe that this tree doesn’t strangle or squeeze its host rather it exists on the outside and kills it by outgrowing it and that’s why the host tree can not take the sunlight that makes it destroy day by day.
While exploring the area, most tourists discover this tree by accident. It can not be said how old this tree is. This type of Giant Higueron trees are very important parts of the jungle. This tree also has medicinal uses, From its leaves or figs, the milky white latex extracted which has antiseptic properties and may be used to cauterize wounds. For mouth ulcers, skin diseases and baldness treatment, its leaves and bark may be mixed with other ingredients.
This giant tree is also useful for different creatures. Many wild creatures use its natural cracks, holes and caves in its multiple trunks and interwoven branches as home. No one knows how old this giant tree is. According to an old man who has lived in Cabuya for more than 80 years, this tree was as large as now when he was a child. There was another one of similar size but cut down by its owner to make concrete molds.
Award Winning Tree:
El Higueron, the giant Banyan Tree got the national prize as ‘most exceptional’, in the country of Costa Rica, in 2009 by INBIO.
The Biggest Tree in Costa Rica?
Though the giant banyan tree El Higueron hasn’t ever been certified as the biggest, it might be the biggest tree as it is not recorded that any traveler has ever seen a bigger tree in the country. Biggest tree might be varied if it is decided based on the widest, heaviest or tallest.