More than 800 known species are in the tree genus Ficus. The genus includes houseplants and common fig trees. The curtain fig tree is the largest member of the genus Ficus, and it is native to northern Queensland, Australia.
The curtain fig tree is the common name of this unique tree. Its section of the genus Ficus is Conosycea. The curtain tree's family within the section is Moraceae, and it belongs to the tribe Ficeae.
The curtain fig tree has knobby, gray, woody branches. The plant produces long strands of ropey roots that hang from the top of the tree, extending to the ground. These roots are so plentiful that they create a cascading curtain of hanging roots.
Curtain fig trees are found only in rain forest areas in Australia. The trees are not able to survive anywhere else.
The curtain fig tree is a parasitic tree. Self-sowing, it attaches itself to the uppermost branches of host trees. The curtain fig produces cascading roots that extend to and penetrate the soil beneath the host trees. The roots attack the host trees' root system, and the curtain fig eventually kills and overtakes the hosts.
A 500-year-old specimen of the curtain fig tree is in Yungaburra on the Atherton Tableland in Australia. The tree has been a tourist destination since the 1920s.