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18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Zanzibar Fig (Ficus sansibarica)

This plant is related to Ficus carica, cultivated in Mediterranean countries for its edible fruit. However, unlike that species, which is a small tree, Ficus sansibarica is a strangler; it attaches itself to a big tree and uses it for support. The ripe fruit is eaten by chimpanzees and the seeds are carried in their digestive system until being deposited at a distance from the parent plant. This specimen was collected by botanist and former RBGE student Sydney Ndolo Ebika, who observed chimpanzees feeding on it in the forest at Goualougo in the Republic of the Congo. The species is widespread across tropical Africa, but at this particular site individual plants are extremely rare. Therefore, primatologists suggest that chimpanzees are either very good at finding fruiting individuals or that they remember their location from previous visits.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 02.2020
Date Uploaded: 08.2020
Photo Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Camera: NIKON D850
Copyright: © Levon Biss