I don’t be-leaf it! The bizarre fig tree that’s growing upside-down in the ruins of an ancient Roman town… and can still bear fruit

The ancient ruins of Baiae, near the modern city of Bacoli, in Italy are home to a botanical oddity known as the upside-down fig tree.

Looking at the tenacious tree growing out of the ceiling of an ancient Roman archway, it’s easy to see why it’s called the upside-down tree. It is literally inverted, growing toward the ground, which is quite rare. No one knows exactly how the fig tree ended up there, or how long it has been growing for, but one thing is for sure – despite its bizarre location, the fig tree if Baia is growing stronger every year, and sometimes it even bears fruit.

The common fig tree (Ficus carica) was one of the first plants ever cultivated by humans, with fig fossils having been found in the Jordan Valley dating back to 9400 BC. So it is rather fitting for this particular gravity-defying tree to be located in the ancient Roman town of Baiae.

Fig trees usually prefer dry and sunny places, but their strong roots and the ability to thrive on little water allow the plant to support itself in inhospitable places, and the upside-down tree is proof of that.

Once a lively retreat for Rome’s ruling class, Baiae is now an archaeological park that attracts tourists from all over the world. In recent years, the upside-down fig tree has become one of the site’s biggest attractions. After all, it’s proof that nature always finds a way.


The upside-down fig tree is just one of the many botanical oddities we’ve featured in the last 15 years, amazing places like The Devil’s Gardens or Saskatchewan’s Crooked Bush.