Apr 01

Spotlight On: The Skytower Tree

When you come to SeaWorld San Diego there are the obvious sights that most people look forward to: dolphins, whales and sharks to name a few. Whenever I visit the park with my mom she helps remind me that our landscaping is just as eye catching as a sea star or ray. She often stops to read all the landscaping signs and asks me about the different flowers and trees around the park (although I usually don’t know the answers to her landscaping questions!).

I decided to take a moment to look into one of the most stunning trees in our park just underneath the SeaWorld Skytower. If you have ever been in the park you can’t miss it, it’s huge!

It’s a Moreton Bay fig or scientific name Ficus macrophylla, a rainforest tree native to Eastern Australia. This species is known, of course, for its massive size. It does produce round fruit (about 1 inch in size) that would be considered a fig. In Australia the fruit is eaten by birds. SeaWorld planted our Moreton Bay fig tree in the mid-1970s.

I was told by one of our veteran gardeners that the tree was initially planted at another location in the park and was moved to its present home in the mid ’70s. Aerial roots have grown from the large branches to help support the tree. With time our tree will get much larger!

There is a Moreton Bay Fig tree in downtown Santa Barbara (planted in 1876) that occupies an entire city block. Our tree has a trunk diameter of 4 feet; the Santa Barbara Moreton Bay has a trunk diameter of 41 feet. Wow!

Make sure on your next visit that you stop by to check out and even pose for a picture next to this beauty!