Indian subcontinent; widely grown as avenue tree
State - Kerala, District/s: All Districts"
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Male, female and gall flowers enclosed in an axillary, sessile, depressed globose figs; red when ripe. Flowering throughout the year.
A globose-ellipsoid achene, dark brown. Fruiting throughout the year.
Tree with numerous aerial roots, stem deeply fluted. Sap white. Leaves 3-5-nerved from base, shining.
Rounded or subcordate
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Ficus benghalensis
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ficus benghalensis
Public Records: 11
Specimens with Barcodes: 26
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
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.
Wood is durable under water. The plant has many medicinal properties according to Ayurveda.
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.
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) and is very commonly paired with Ficus religiosa (commonly known as Vat Vriksha/Badla (वट वृक्ष/बड़ला)) to make Chautaris (चौतारी) to sit and rest on (in popular intersections and locations). In Telugu, it is known as marri chettu (మఱ్ఱి చెట్టు).In Tamil, it is known as aalamaram (ஆலமரம்). Sanskrit names include nyagrodha and vata. In Kannada it is known as aalada mara. In Malayalam it is known as aalmaram or Peraal and in Punjabi it is known as bodha.
Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as aerial roots. Once these roots reach the ground they grow into woody trunks.
The tree is considered sacred in India, and temples are often built beneath. Due to the large size of the tree's canopy it provides useful shade in hot climates.
In Theravada Buddhism, this tree is said to have been used as the tree for achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi by twenty seventh Lord Buddha called "Kassapa - කස්සප". The plant is known as නුග in Sinhala.
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 m2 (205,670 sq ft) and is the largest single tree by two-dimensional canopy coverage area. This tree is also the world's largest known tree by perimeter length with a perimeter of 846 m (2,776 ft).
Nearchus, an admiral of Alexander the Great, described a large specimen 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 610 m (2,000 ft) in circumference with over 3000 trunks.
- 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.
- "National Tree". Govt. of India Official website.
- Simoons, F.J. (1998). Plants of Life, Plants of Death. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299159047.
- Bar-Ness, YD (March 2013). "Giant Banyans - The World's Largest Trees?". GEO (89).
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Fig". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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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