Whitehead Street Key West Part Twelve
One of the famous Key West feral chickens ---- roosters
Feral chickens are protected in Key West. They are part of the ambiance of the place. These fighting cocks were brought here by the Cubans that migrated to Key West years ago. When it became illegal to fight cocks they were just turned loose and now roam all about Key West and the adjoining islands.
Private residence along Whitehead Street with blooming African tulip tree in yard
Key West is a small island and residential structures are jammed together with little or no yards. Unique tropical vegetation usually covers every bare spot of ground.
In this case some tropical palms are on one side and a beautiful blooming African tulip tree is on the other. African tulip trees bloom in the winter like this one is doing. African tulip trees have giant red/orange blooms shaped like large tulips.
Parking is a major problem in Key West and many residents just walk, ride a bicycle or in some cases a motorscooter if they have to travel far. Many residents, like this one just park their motorscooter on the sidewalk. If it were a bicycle they may park it on the front porch.
Impressive strangler fig tree on Whitehead Street in Key West
This impressive strangler fig is located on the west side of the Mel Fisher Museum along Whitehead Street in Key West. The massive aerial root system on this unique tree is essentially square on the sides we can see.
Strangler figs is the common name for a number of tropical plant species including some banyan trees.
Strangler figs begin life as epiphytes, when their seeds, often bird-dispersed, germinate in crevices atop other trees or structures such as buildings. These seedlings grow their roots downward and envelop the host tree or building while also growing upward to reach sunlight.
Strangler figs develop an aerial root system that can "strangle" the host tree.
An epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree) or sometimes upon some other object such as a building, derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it.
Keep in mind that strangler fig trees begin life as ephipyte then look at the root system of this tree. Could it have begun life on a small building that once occupied that location? Since the root system was so dense and knowing that strangler fig trees begin life as ephipytes I went searching in that mass of roots for the "host" object. I did not find it. That mass of roots is so dense that I could not get a view into the core. Something in the back of my mind tells me this tree may have used something like a chimney as the host in its young life.
A large banyan tree is about 2-blocks south of this tree on Whitehead Street. The banyan tree is located at the Banyan Tree Resort on Whitehead Street. If you are touring Key West off a cruise ship you will most likely pass right by this impressive strangler fig tree as you head to Duval Street. If you think this tree is cool you really need to follow Whitehead Street two blocks south and take a gander at the huge banyan tree.
This impressive looking strangler fig is located in a bank parking lot just off Whitehead Street in Old Town Key West, Florida
This unique strangler fig tree is located in a bank parking lot at the corner of Eaton and Whitehead Street. This bank is located across the street from the Post Office on Eaton and Whitehead Street in Key West.
You can see the roots of this strangler fig tree "strangling" the host tree.
Dense tangle of aerial roots on a strangler fig tree in Key West
In this dense tangle of aerial roots it is difficult to determining which is the host plant. This is just another angle on strangler fig in the bank parking lot at Eaton & Whitehead Streets in Key West. This should give you a good idea how the strangler fig got its name.
Huge kapok tree on Whitehead Street in Key West
If you would personally like to see this tree when visiting Key West it is fairly simple and an easy walk from a cruise ship. Just locate Whitehead Street when you exit your cruise ship. It will be the first street you cross upon leaving the cruise ship. Walk south a few blocks. It is located on Whitehead Street in front of the Monroe County Courthouse, one block south of the Post Office.
You will also get a kick out of the feral chickens that congregate around the roost system of this large kapok tree. If you have not already spotted the feral chickens (roosters) they are at least five of them in the bottom right hand corner of this picture.
While you are there do not forget to get your obligatory pictures taken with the MILE 0 sign on Whitehead Street south of the Post Office.
Until next time remember how good life is.
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Until next time remember how good life is.