Stag-head. - Old trees, though vigorous and in full foliage throughout the crown generally, frequently lose the power of bearing leaves on their topmost branches and twigs, which stand out bare and brown, and fancifully resemble the antlers of a stag: hence the forester's name "stag-head." This "top-dry" condition is frequently due to the removal of litter, or to excessive draining, or to the roots having gradually penetrated into unsuitable soil. The consequence is that some dry summer the drought causes the breakage of the water columns above, and the twigs die back.
Tropical trees may also become stag-headed owing to the attacks of Loranthus and other parasites, the portions above the point of attachment dying back from inanition.
Cases also occur in the tropics where the stag-head condition is due to the persistent roosting of frugiferous bats - "flying foxes" - which tear the bark and foliage with their claws, and befoul the twigs generally.