David Bellamy goes back to nature

Published by telegraph.co.uk

The morning’s topic of conversation has turned to the strangler fig. The parasite in question stands there tall, defiant and entirely unrepentant, wrapping all of its sinuous energy around the ironwood tree which has found itself the choking focus of its attention.

Five yards away, Irshad Mobarak breathes deeply and prepares to play devil’s advocate. “In the business world, this would be fully understood,” he muses, arm extended, tracing the long shape of the arboreal aggressor to his left. “Just think of it as a hostile takeover.”

A powerfully built man, well over 6ft, he says these words with a composure that is impressive for two reasons. The first is that, directly behind him, a five-star resort swimming pool shines in the 10am daylight, the sun-worshippers around its fringes listening as they lie on the loungers. The second is that one of Britain’s most fabled – and recognisable – botanists is his main partner in this discourse. David Bellamy nods quietly as Mobarak speaks. He knows this stuff, of course – but he is also happy to hear it from a fellow expert.

Telegraph UK: David Bellamy goes back to nature