Overview

Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"Fruits eaten by birds. Wood durable under water and used for well-curbs, tent and yoke. Considered to be a sacred tree."
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Distribution

"Found in all kind of forests from plains to 1000m. Common. India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, now widely planted in the tropics."
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introduced; Fla.; Asia (native to Pakistan and India).
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Nepal, Pakistan, India; widely cultivated.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

"
Flower

Male, female and gall flowers enclosed in an axillary, sessile, depressed globose figs; red when ripe. Flowering throughout the year.

Fruit

A globose-ellipsoid achene, dark brown. Fruiting throughout the year.

Field tips

Tree with numerous aerial roots, stem deeply fluted. Sap white. Leaves 3-5-nerved from base, shining.

Leaf Arrangement

Alternate-spiral

Leaf Type

Simple

Leaf Shape

Ovate-elliptic

Leaf Apex

Obtuse-subacute

Leaf Base

Rounded or subcordate

Leaf Margin

Entire

"
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Description

A large, evergreen to deciduous, up to 20 (-25) m tall, with wide leafy crown and branches spreading up to 100 m or more with pillar-like prop roots and accessory trunks. Trunk massive, fluted, bark grey, smooth, young softly white puberulous. Leaves with stout, (1.5-) 2-6 (-8) cm long, do ventrally compressed hairy petiole; lamina coriaceous, ovate or orb ovate to elliptic, (8-) 10-20 (-25) cm long, (6-) 8-15 (20) cm broad, glabrous above, finely pubescent beneath, base subcordate or rounded, margins apically obtuse, lateral nerves 4-7 pairs, intercostals distinct, ± bulging stipules coriaceous, stout, 1.5-2.5 cm long, acute; cystoliths abundant on side, few or absent below. Hypanthodia sessile, in axillary pairs on young depressed-globose, 15-2 cm in diameter, green, hairy, subtended by 3, reniform c. 3-4 mm long, c. 6-7 mm wide, minutely hairy basal bracts, apical orifice by 3, flat or ± umbonate bracts, internal bristles absent. Male flowers: numerous ostiolar, shortly pedicellate; sepals 2-3; stamen solitary, with shortly mucronate anther. Female flowers: sessile, mixed with gall flowers; sepals 34, small; ovary with an elongated style. Gall flowers numerous, pedicellate; sepal as in female ovary with a short style. Figs globose to depressed-globose, 15-2.5 cm in diam pinkish-red, hairy.
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Elevation Range

500-1200 m
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Description

Trees , evergreen, to 30 m. Roots aerial, often descending to ground level and forming pillar-roots Bark of trunks and older branches brown, smooth. Branchlets puberulent, glabrescent in age. Leaves: stipules stout, 1.5-2.5 cm; petiole 1.5-7 cm. Leaf blade ovate, 10-30 × 7-20 cm, leathery, base cordate, margins entire, apex obtuse; surfaces abaxially puberulent, adaxially glabrous; basal veins (2-)3-4 pairs, 1/3-1/2 length of blade, reticulations regular; lateral veins 5-6(-7) pairs. Syconia paired, sessile, orange or red, depressed-globose, 1.5-2 × 2-2.5 mm, pubescent; subtending bracts ovate, 3-7 mm, puberulous; ostiole closed by 3 flat or nearly umbonate apical bracts 3-4 mm wide.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Habit: A large tree with horizontal branches and aerial roots, upto 15m."
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Ecology

Habitat

General Habitat

"Plains from the coast to 1000m. Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, now widely cultivated."
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Disturbed thickets; 0-10m.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering all year.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Ficus benghalensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ficus benghalensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 11
Specimens with Barcodes: 26
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Folklore

The young prop root is boiled with coconut oil and the mixture is applied on the hair to promote hair growth. Prop roots used as rope and tooth stick. Sap applied on the wounds of cattles to kill the worms.

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Uses

Fruits eaten by birds. Applying a mixture of coconut oil and pulp of the fruit promotes hair growth.

Wood is durable under water. The plant has many medicinal properties according to Ayurveda.

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Wikipedia

Ficus benghalensis

Ficus benghalensis, commonly known as the Indian banyan, is a tree which is native to the Indian subcontinent. Specimens in India are among the largest trees in the world by canopy coverage.

Other names[edit]

Ficus benghalensis is also known as the 'Bengal fig' and 'Indian fig'. In Bengali language, it is known as bat (pronounced as bawt or bɒt). In Nepal, it is known as Bar or Var (वर्)[1] and is very commonly paired with Ficus religiosa (commonly known as Vat Vriksha/Badla (वट वृक्ष/बड़ला)) to make Chautaris (चौतारी)[2] to sit and rest on (in popular intersections and locations). In Tamil, it is known as aalamaram (ஆலமரம்). In Telugu, it is known as marrichettu. Sanskrit names include nyagrodha and vata. In Kannada it is known as aalada mara.[3] In Malayalam it is known as aalmaram or Peraal and in Punjabi It is known as "bodha".

Ecology[edit]

Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as aerial roots. Once these roots reach the ground they grow into woody trunks.

The figs produced by the tree are eaten by birds such such as the Indian Myna. Fig seeds that pass through the digestive system of birds are more likely to germinate and sprout earlier.[1]

Banyan fruit at Indira Gandhi Zoo park, Visakhapatnam

Cultural significance[edit]

Ficus bengalensis is the National tree of the Republic of India.[2]

The tree is considered sacred in India,[3] and temples are often built beneath. Due to the large size of the tree's canopy it provides useful shade in hot climates.

Notable specimens[edit]

The giant banyan trees of India are the largest trees in the world by canopy coverage. One individual specimen, Thimmamma Marrimanu, in Andhra Pradesh, covers 19,107 square metres and is the largest single tree by two-dimensional canopy coverage area.[4] This tree is also the world's largest known tree by perimeter length with a perimeter of 846 meters.

Nearchus, an admiral of Alexander the Great, described a large speciment on the banks of the Narmada. The tree's canopy was so extensive it sheltered 7000 men. It was later described by James Forbes (1749–1819) in his Oriental Memoirs (1813–1815) as nearly 2000 ft. in circumference with over 3000 trunks.[5]

Other notable specimens include The Great Banyan in the Indian Botanic Garden and Dodda Alada Mara in Karnataka.

A Ficus Benghalensis Tree in Coral Gables, FL.
A banyan tree near the chopdem fish market in Morjim, Goa, India.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Midya, S.; Brahmachary, R. L. (1991) "The Effect of Birds Upon Germination of Banyan (Ficus bengalensis) Seeds". Journal of Tropical Ecology. 7(4):537-538.
  2. ^ "National Tree". Govt. of India Official website. 
  3. ^ Simoons, F.J. (1998). Plants of Life, Plants of Death. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299159047. 
  4. ^ Bar-Ness, YD (March 2013). "Giant Banyans - The World's Largest Trees?". GEO (89). 
  5. ^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Fig". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Further reading[edit]

Dhanya, B. (Jun 2013). "Does litterfall from native trees support rainfed agriculture? Analysis of Ficus trees in agroforestry systems of southern dry agroclimatic zone of Karnataka, southern India". Journal of Forestry Research (Harbin) 24 (2): 333–338. doi:10.1007/s11676-013-0357-6. 

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Notes

Comments

Linnaeus in his protologue of Ficus berghalensis cited Hort. Cliff., Van and Amoen: Acad. 1: 29. No specimens have been found that link with these references except for Van Royen’s sheet L 908186144. This specimen consists of a single leaf. No specimen of Ficus benghalensis is preserved in the herbaria in London and Stockholm and although Linn 1240.8 could typify Ficus indica L it could not typify Ficus benghalensis. The remaining elements in Linnean protologue are Commelin’s plate 62 and Rheede’s Peralu, Hort. Mal. 1: 49. t. 28. Since Linnaeus obtained his epithet from Commelin and Since Cited t. 62 in all his publications on this taxon, we have designated here Commelin’s plate 62 as a suitable lectotype of Ficus benghalensis in preference to Rheede’s plate and the Van Royen’s specimen.
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