The Curtain Fig Tree is a strangler fig, part of the species Ficus virens. These figs start life as a tiny seed in the canopy. As they develop, their roots grow down to the forest floor where they take root and begin to take nutrients from the soil. Gradually the roots wrap around the host tree, widen, and slowly form a latticework that surrounds the host's trunk. The fig's crown grows foliage which soon overshadows the tree. Eventually, the host tree dies leaving the fig with a hollow trunk. Figs are not truly parasitic, as they take their nutrients from the soil, not the host tree, but to the poor host, the end result is the same.
Yungaburra’s famous Curtain Fig Tree is located in a national park about one kilometre north of the town of Yungaburra on the Atherton Tableland. It is thought to be at least 500 years old. The unusual formation of the Curtain Fig Tree was created when its vertical roots strangled the host causing it to fall into a neighbouring tree at a 45-degree angle. The extensive aerial roots of the strangler fig then dropped from the oblique angle of the fallen tree 15 metres (49 ft) to the forest floor, forming a "curtain".
The Curtain Fig Tree is approximately 50m high with a trunk circumference of 39m. The canopy extends in a radius of approximately 30m from the trunk of the tree. Extensive aerial roots, which are now thick and interwoven, drop 15m to the forest floor, forming a curtain oriented north-west to south-east over approximately 7m. The host tree has since rotted away and the fig is now a free-standing tree. (Queensland Heritage Register, 2020)
A boardwalk was constructed in 2001 to allow wheelchair access for the disabled and to provide further protection for the tree and its surrounds, while permitting visitors to view it from all angles.