I don’t think the ancient Khmer builders of the Ta Prohm Temple envisioned a garden forest quite like this one in their day. Ta Prohm is one of the many temples built by the Khmer empire in what is known as the greater Angkor Wat area, near present day Siem Reap, Cambodia.
This silk-cotton tree’s base now sits atop one of the corridors within the temple complex. Its seeds took route amongst the stone facade and the tree’s roots reached around and through the man-made structure to find the soil below. This is only one of the many silk-cotton trees that call this 12th century ruin home. The tree now helps hold the stones in place, but when it dies its roots will rot away and the stone structure will most likely crumble. In its death the tree has the potential to destroy its own ancient home.