The ficus trees on Vélez-Málaga's Paseo de Andalucía / e. cabezas

Emblematic century-old Vélez-Málaga ficus tree dies

One of the four specimens on the town’s Paseo de Andalucía failed to blossom this spring despite the rain in March and April

Eugenio Cabezas
EUGENIO CABEZAS

The four ficus trees on Vélez-Málaga’s Paseo de Andlaucía were planted in around 1900 and have witnessed two world wars, a civil war, storms, droughts, windstorms and even the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the small group has lost one of its members.

The one located closest to Calle Juan Barranquero failed to blossom this spring and, although a technical report is still pending, it is assumed that the tree is dead.

Although the death certificate has not yet been officially signed, the town hall had been trying for more than a decade to solve its problems, which was losing branches every year.

After the last pruning, the tree could barely support itself, but this year not even the decent rainfall in March and April was enough to revive the enormous Ficus elástica, also known as big-leaf ficus or rubber tree. Successive works on the Paseo de Andalucía and the proximity to a block of buildings are also thought to have damaged the tree.

Sculpture

"We are waiting for a definitive report from an external company, but unfortunately, everything points to the fact that it is dead," the councillor for the Environment, Antonio Ariza, who has not clarified what will be done with the remains of the hundred-year-old dead tree, told SUR.

One of the options that have been circulating in recent weeks on social networks is that it will be converted into a sculpture, as was done a few years ago with a horse chestnut tree located next to the mayor's office in Torre del Mar.

Its three ‘siblings’, which are over 25 metres tall, continue to guard each of the sides of the Paseo de Andalucía and are, for now, still thought to be in good health.