I see the "strangler fig" tree in every park I visit in Australia. It doesn't grow from the ground up; rather, a seed dropped high in a host tree by an animal grows into a seedling that sends its roots down the host tree toward the soil. The roots wrap around the host tree as the strangler fig reaches higher, competing with the host for light and eventually blocking out the sun. The host tree dies.
The roots fuse, which creates a pretty cool effect.
It sounds like a menace, doesn't it? It can be, but the tree is so attractive that in Australia, less desirable trees are "replaced" with strangler fig trees, which are perfect for shade or climbing!