ID Challenge #21

Time for another installment of BitB Challenge Session #7. This one is going to be a bit different from previous versions—can you identify the tree in the photo? Not the scientific name, not the common name, but the actual name of this particular tree. Include its location and any cultural significance it may have (both historical and current) and you’ll be well on your way towards winning this challenge. Points structure will be decided after I see what kind of response I get (this is also a test to see if anyone still reads this blog).

Good luck!


Copyright © Ted. C. MacRae 2013

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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73 Responses to ID Challenge #21

  1. musidris says:

    Ficus religiosa

  2. musidris says:

    The “Bo” tree

  3. Gordon C. Snelling says:

    Mmm looks like one I saw in the Santa Barbara area a way long time ago when the world was young. Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Ficus macrophylla. Corner of Montecito and Chapala in SB.

  4. Ben Coulter says:

    I think this is El Gran Gomero, a huge rubber tree (Ficus elastica) located in the Plaza Francia in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to Wikipedia, it was planted by Martín José Altolaguirre in 1791.

  5. kentiki says:

    The Banyan Tree in Lahaina, Maui??

  6. Brady Richards says:

    I’m still reading!

    I think I have a name for this tree. I so wanted to say Yggdrasil, but instead, I think it’s the Gran Gomero in the Recoleta district of Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m seeing a couple different accounts, so I’m guessing this one is correct. It was planted in 1791 by Martín José Altolaguirre, who owned the land then. The tree is in the Plaza Francia near the cemetery.

  7. smccann27 says:

    The Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya!
    It is said to be the tree where Buddha was enlightened.

  8. roberta4949 says:

    dont know the kind but it surly is a neato tree.

  9. shotgunner says:

    Well, I read your blog. I have seen many Ficus bengalensis all over and my original thought was the Banyan tree in the courtyard at Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. But I cannot tell if that particular tree has a name, So, while I cannot answer your question, I wanted you to know someone reads your blog.

  10. I think this is maybe “El Gran Gomero” in Buenos Aires. Sources seem conflicted on exactly how old it is, but it’s likely over 220 years old, and enormous. It seems that a cafe near the cemetery at Recoleta, across from this tree, was a popular gathering place for the rich and famous of old Argentina.

    On a related note, I really want to visit Argentina, someday, and try a Choripán.

  11. Michael Ivie says:

    Worlds largest (in canopy area) tree, a fig in Buenos Aires park?

    • 2 (location) + 1 (genus common name) = 3 pts

      I didn’t find anything about it being the world’s largest tree in canopy area, although it must certainly be up there. Show me a reliable source and I’ll give you a few more points.

  12. Michael Ivie says:

    Forgot to include the name, Recoleta

  13. It’s “Gran Gomero”, a rubber tree in a plaza near Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. It’s mentioned here:,_Buenos_Aires

  14. Godfried says:

    It is a beautiful tree. But I don`t know his name.

  15. Gary Griswold says:

    A Ceiba speciosa which is native to Argentina…

  16. Tashia Steele says:

    Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) cultural reference is the National Tree to India. Also known as the strangler fig due to is nature to drop seeds into the root system of it’s host tree. The tree girdles it’s host and relies on fig wasp for reproduction. Not sure if I answered it in the order I am suppose to but this is my answer.

  17. orchidmantis says:

    I don’t know anything about this tree… besides that it reminds me of a banyan… But I just wanted to say, it’s absolutely gorgeous.

  18. Looks like the famous banyan tree in Lahaina, HI.

  19. Gary Griswold says:

    Huge Tree across from Recoleta Cemetery Entrance in Buenos Aires…

  20. Gary Griswold says:

    Also known as El Gomero, located at entrance to the Recoleta cemetarty in Buenos Aires..
    Added to previous comments.

  21. Leyendecker says:

    Not a tree but a plant Ficus Elasticas : this gomero is located in the centre of Buenos Aires, Argentina and is over 200 years old. How do I know ? I shot a commercial under this tree 20 years ago…

    • 3 (name – I can only give half credit for “gomero”) + 4 (scientific name) + 2 (location) + 2 (age) + 2 (early birds) = 13 pts. I’m going to give you another point for having a personal connection with the tree – new total = 14 pts

  22. Jeff Weber says:

    Is this the Famous Banyon Tree in Courthouse Square in Lahina, Maui, Hawaii? It wap planted in 1873 to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Prodestant Mission there.

  23. Chelydra says:

    It appears to be el Gran Gomero, a non-native rubber tree, Ficus elastica. Located in la Plaza Recoleta in Buenos Aires, a wooden sign on the other side of it claims it was planted by Recollect friars in 1800, about when they founded a monestary there. The famous and popular Café La Biela is adjacent.

    • 6 (name) + 4 (scientific name) + 2 (common name) + 2 (location) + 2 (early birds) = 16 pts

      • Chelydra says:

        Wait, how come Mr. Phiddipus got 2+5 points for the age and translating the sign, but I didn’t? 🙂

        A word-for-word translation would be: “The Great Gum Tree planted “in 1800” by the Recollect friars. The fence donated by La “Biela” in order to [bottom of sign broken off]”.

        • Chelydra says:

          Oops, just “The Gum Tree…” Interesting that it’s not called “Gran Gomero” on the sign. I also wonder if the sign is made from a cross-section of one of its own branches that was trimmed.

        • Oops – My mistake. It wouldn’t be fair to take pts away from Mr. Phidippus, but I’ll give you the 5 pts as well. New total = 21 pts and 2nd place in the challenge!

  24. Nombelina says:

    no idea on the tree, but I’m still reading 🙂

  25. Eric says:

    It looks like an Ombu, which are planted in various locations around BsAs.

    Looks like some claim that this is the largest one in the world:

  26. Roxane Magnus says:

    Es El Gran Gomero. Esta en la esquina Av. Quintana en Recoleta district in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was planted in 1870 by Recoleta Monks. Some of the branches are 25 meters long. The Recoleta cemetary is across from it and La Biela Cafe (called La Biela) sits adjacent to it. This cafe dates back to 1850 when it was originally called and baptized La Viridita, then called Aero Bar because it very popular with members of the Argentine Civil Pilots Association.It is a place that has been popular with politicians, writers, actors, race car drivers and other celebrities. The tree sets a relaxing place to be. In 1999, Café La Biela was declared a Place of Cultural Interest by the city

    • 6 (name) + 2 (location) + 2 (age) + 1 (early bird) = 11 pts. I’m also going to give you a bonus point for starting off in Spanish and 2 bonus points for the extensive and varied cultural notes – new total = 14 pts

  27. vsvevg says:

    Hi Ted, yes I still read your blog,which is mostly why I am responding since my ID is not specific. It’s an Amate, Ficus Maxima, I think is the proper name. So I would guess its location as Mexico. It looks a lot like the one I live under, though ours is an Amarillo and much larger. paz, Abby

  28. sue says:

    Wow – an amazing trunk or root structure or…? Did you see this in your recent travels?

  29. gergrd says:

    I’ll make a guess which is likely incorrect. In Santa Barbara, CA there is a fig tree, the Moreton Bay Fig Tree which looks very much like your tree. I saw it many years ago (at the time, it was swarmed by homeless people who were camped out in and under it, much to the annoyance of the locals). The tree was planted in 1870 and the seed / seedling came from Australia. I don’t believe it has a fence behind it, like the one shown in your picture. I don’t recall it having any connection to insects either -so why would you be interested. Anyway, I still read and enjoy your blog.

  30. Dimitri says:

    It might be Ficus macrophylla, and “Ombú” in Buenos Aires, in plaza General San Martin. This Plaza was one of the first open spaces of the city, and has been a place for art installations. It also harbors many monuments as one for General San Martin, and other for the fallen ones in the Malvinas war.

  31. George Sims says:

    Treaty Oak, Austin, where Stephen Austin negotiated treaty with Indians, 1830s?

  32. It reminds me of a banyan tree…but I’m far from any sort of expert! As to the “actual” name, which I presume gives it historical or cultural significance, I have no idea. You’ve got me curious, though.

  33. I think this is El Gomero, a large gum tree near La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From what I can tell, it looks like the tree was the first gum tree in the region. A sign on the tree reads “El Gomero plantado “en 1800” por los hermanos Recoletos. La reja donada por la “Biela” para la ciudad,” which roughly translates to “El Gomero, planted in 1800 by the Recoletos brothers. The fence was donated by la Biela [a nearby cafe] for the city.” The base of this tree is about 7 meters wide, with the upper branches spreading almost 50 meters wide.

    • 6 (name) + 2 (common name) + 2 (location) + 2 (age) = 12 pts

      I’ll add a whopping 5 bonus points for finding the contents of the sign and settling the age issue. New total = 17 pts

  34. Okay, time to put this challenge to rest. This tree is call “Gran Gomero” and is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Points are awarded as follows:

    – 6 pts for “Gran Gomero”
    – 4 pts for scientific name – Ficus elastica (2 each for genus and species – half if not underlined or italicized)
    – 2 pts for commmon name – rubber tree
    – 2 pts for location – Buenos Aires
    – 2 pts for alluding to its age
    – 1 early bird pt for each person you beat with the correct answer (“Gran Gomero” respondents only)

    See the followup post for details and announcement of the winner for this challenge.

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