Banyan

Banyan

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A banyan is a fig
Ficus
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...

 that starts its life as an epiphyte
Epiphyte
An epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object , derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it, and is found in the temperate zone and in the...

 when its seeds
SEEDS
SEEDS is a voluntary organisation registered under the Societies Act of India....

 germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

 (or on structures like buildings and bridges). "Banyan" often refers specifically to the Indian Banyan or Ficus benghalensis
Ficus benghalensis
Ficus benghalensis, the banyan, is a large and extensive growing tree of the Indian subcontinent. Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as aerial roots. Once these roots reach the ground, they grow into woody trunks that can become indistinguishable from the main...

, the National tree of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a unique life cycle, and systematically
Systematics
Biological systematics is the study of the diversification of terrestrial life, both past and present, and the relationships among living things through time. Relationships are visualized as evolutionary trees...

 to refer to the subgenus
Subgenus
In biology, a subgenus is a taxonomic rank directly below genus.In zoology, a subgeneric name can be used independently or included in a species name, in parentheses, placed between the generic name and the specific epithet: e.g. the Tiger Cowry of the Indo-Pacific, Cypraea tigris Linnaeus, which...

 Urostigma. The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating
Frugivore
A frugivore is a fruit eater. It can be any type of herbivore or omnivore where fruit is a preferred food type. Because approximately 20% of all mammalian herbivores also eat fruit, frugivory is considered to be common among mammals. Since frugivores eat a lot of fruit they are highly dependent...

 birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground, and may envelop part of the host tree or building structure with their roots, giving them the casual name of "strangler fig."
Strangler Fig
Strangler fig is the common name for a number of tropical and subtropical plant species, including some banyans and unrelated vines, including among many other species:* Ficus aurea, also known as the Florida Strangler Fig...

 The "strangling" growth habit is found in a number of tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus, that compete for light. Any Ficus species showing this habit may be termed a strangler fig.

The leaves of Banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy green and elliptical in shape. Like most of the fig-trees, leaf bud is covered by two large scales. As the leaf develops the scales fall. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge.

Older banyan trees are characterized by their Aerial prop root
Aerial root
Aerial roots are roots above the ground. They are almost always adventitious. They are found in diverse plant species, including epiphytes such as orchids, tropical coastal swamp trees such as mangroves, the resourceful banyan trees, the warm-temperate rainforest rātā and pōhutukawa Aerial roots...

s that grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area.
Like other Fig species (which includes the common edible fig Ficus carica), banyans have unique fruit structures and are dependent on fig wasp
Fig wasp
Fig wasps are wasps of the family Agaonidae which pollinate figs or are otherwise associated with figs, a coevolutional relationship that has been developing for at least 80 million years...

s for reproduction.

Etymology


The name was originally given to F. benghalensis
Ficus benghalensis
Ficus benghalensis, the banyan, is a large and extensive growing tree of the Indian subcontinent. Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as aerial roots. Once these roots reach the ground, they grow into woody trunks that can become indistinguishable from the main...

and comes from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 where early travellers observed that the shade of the tree was frequented by banias or Indian traders.

In the Gujarati
Gujarati language
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

 language, banya means "grocer/merchant," not "tree." The Portuguese picked up the word to refer specifically to Hindu merchants and passed it along to the English as early as 1599 with the same meaning. By 1634, English writers began to tell of the banyan tree, a tree under which Hindu merchants would conduct their business. The tree provided a shaded place for a village meeting or for merchants to sell their goods. Eventually "banyan" became the name of the tree itself.

Classification


Proper noun Banyan refers specifically to the species F. benghalensis
Ficus benghalensis
Ficus benghalensis, the banyan, is a large and extensive growing tree of the Indian subcontinent. Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as aerial roots. Once these roots reach the ground, they grow into woody trunks that can become indistinguishable from the main...

, which can grow into a giant tree covering several hectare
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

s. Over time, the name became generalized to all strangler fig
Strangler Fig
Strangler fig is the common name for a number of tropical and subtropical plant species, including some banyans and unrelated vines, including among many other species:* Ficus aurea, also known as the Florida Strangler Fig...

s. There are many banyan species, including:
  • Ficus microcarpa
    Ficus microcarpa
    Ficus microcarpa, also known as Chinese Banyan, Malayan Banyan, Indian Laurel or Curtain fig, is a banyan native in the range from Sri Lanka to India, southern China, the Malay Archipelago, the Ryukyu Islands, Australia, and New Caledonia.-Taxonomy:Hill's Weeping Fig is a form of Ficus microcarpa...

    , which is native from Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

     through New Caledonia
    New Caledonia
    New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

     and is a significant invasive species elsewhere.
  • The Central American Banyan (Ficus pertusa) is native to Central America
    Central America
    Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

     and northern South America
    South America
    South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

    , from southern Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

     south to Paraguay
    Paraguay
    Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

    .
  • The Shortleaf Fig (Ficus citrifolia
    Ficus citrifolia
    Ficus citrifolia, also known as the Shortleaf Fig, Giant Bearded Fig or Wild Banyantree, is a species of banyan native to southern Florida, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America south to Paraguay...

    ) is native to southern Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

    , the Caribbean
    Caribbean
    The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

     Islands, Central America
    Central America
    Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

     and South America
    South America
    South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

     south to Paraguay
    Paraguay
    Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

    . One theory is that the Portuguese name for F. citrofolia, "Os Barbados", gave Barbados
    Barbados
    Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

     its name
  • The Florida Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea
    Ficus aurea
    Ficus aurea, commonly known as the Florida strangler fig , golden fig, or higuerón, is a tree in the family Moraceae that is native to the U.S. state of Florida, the northern and western Caribbean, southern Mexico and Central America south to Panama...

    ) is also native to southern Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

     and the Caribbean
    Caribbean
    The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

     Islands, and distinguished from the above by its coarser leaf venation.
  • The Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) and Port Jackson Fig
    Port Jackson Fig
    Ficus rubiginosa, the Rusty Fig, Port Jackson Fig, or Little-leaf Fig, is a tree in the family Moraceae that is native to eastern Australia...

     (Ficus rubiginosa) are other related species.

Ornamental value



Due to the complex structure of the roots and extensive branching, the banyan is extensively used for creating Bonsai
Bonsai
is a Japanese art form using miniature trees grown in containers. Similar practices exist in other cultures, including the Chinese tradition of penjing from which the art originated, and the miniature living landscapes of Vietnamese hòn non bộ...

. Taiwan's oldest living bonsai is a 240-year-old banyan housed in Tainan.

Religion and mythology


In Bhagawat Gita Lord Krishna said "There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down, and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas." (Bg 15.1) Here the material world is described as a tree whose roots are upwards and branches are below. We have experience of a tree whose roots are upward: if one stands on the bank of a river or any reservoir of water, he can see that the trees reflected in the water are upside down. The branches go downward and the roots upward. Similarly, this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. The material world is but a shadow of reality. In the shadow there is no reality or substantiality, but from the shadow we can understand that there is substance and reality.

Elsewhere in the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

, Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 says:
Of all trees I am the banyan tree, and of the sages among the demigods I am Narada
Narada
Narada or Narada Muni is a divine sage from the Vaisnava tradition, who plays a prominent role in a number of the Puranic texts, especially in the Bhagavata Purana, and in the Ramayana...

. Of the Gandharva
Gandharva
Gandharva is a name used for distinct mythological beings in Hinduism and Buddhism; it is also a term for skilled singers in Indian classical music.-In Hinduism:...

s I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.(10.26)

  • In Hinduism
    Hinduism
    Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

    , the leaf of banyan tree is said to be the resting place for the God Krishna
    Krishna
    Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

    , who, after consuming all the universe
    Universe
    The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

     during the time of destruction, absorbs everything created and turns himself to a child as small as he could fit into the tiny leaf of the banyan tree and keeps floating in the void space, until he himself decides to recreate everything back out from him. Parallels have been drawn between this story and the pulsating theory in modern physics which hypothesizes that the universe expands and contracts in a series of Big Bang
    Big Bang
    The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

    s and Big Crunch
    Big Crunch
    In physical cosmology, the Big Crunch is one possible scenario for the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the metric expansion of space eventually reverses and the universe recollapses, ultimately ending as a black hole singularity.- Overview :...

    es.
  • In Hinduism
    Hinduism
    Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

    , the banyan tree is considered sacred and is called "Vat Vriksha", in Tamil
    Tamil language
    Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

     known as: 'ஆல மரம்' ; Ala Maram. God Shiva
    Shiva
    Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

     as Dakshinamurthy
    Dakshinamurthy
    Dakshinamurthy or Jnana Dakshinamurti Dakshinamurthy or Jnana Dakshinamurti Dakshinamurthy or Jnana Dakshinamurti(Tamil: தட்சிணாமூர்த்தி, Sanskrit: is an aspect of Shiva as a guru (teacher) of all type of knowledge, particularly the jnana. This aspect of Shiva is his personification as the...

     is nearly always depicted sitting in silence under the banyan with rishis at his feet. It is thought of as perfectly symbolizing eternal life due to its seemingly unending expansion.
  • Also in Hindu culture, the banyan tree is also called kalpavriksha
    Kalpavriksha
    Kalpavriksha , also known as kalpataru, kalpadruma and kalpapādapa, is a mythological, wish-fulfilling divine tree said to fulfill all desires. It was mentioned in Sanskrit literature from the earliest sources onwards...

     meaning 'wish fulfilling divine tree'. In modern parlance in the Hindi
    Hindi
    Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

     language, it is known as Bargad, Vatavriksh, and Barh.
  • Buddha
    Buddha
    In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

     is believed to have achieved enlightenment in Bodhgaya in India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     while meditating under a banyan tree of the species Sacred Fig
    Sacred Fig
    The Sacred Fig, Ficus religiosa, or Bo-Tree , Peepal is a species of banyan fig native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina...

    . The tree is known as Bodhi Tree
    Bodhi tree
    The Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo , was a large and very old Sacred Fig tree located in Bodh Gaya , under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism later known as Gautama Buddha, is said to have achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi...

  • In Buddhism
    Buddhism
    Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

    's Pali canon
    Pāli Canon
    The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language. It is the only completely surviving early Buddhist canon, and one of the first to be written down...

    , the banyan (Pali: nigrodha) is referenced numerous times. Typical metaphors allude to the banyan's epiphytic
    Epiphyte
    An epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object , derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it, and is found in the temperate zone and in the...

     nature, likening the banyan's supplanting of a host tree as comparable to the way sensual desire (kāma
    Kama
    Kāma is often translated from Sanskrit as sexual desire, sexual pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, or eros54654564+more broadly mean desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, without sexual connotations.-Kama in...

    ) overcomes humans.
  • The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
    Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
    The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees is one of the popular shrines in Hong Kong. They are located near the Tin Hau Temple in Fong Ma Po Village, in Lam Tsuen. The temple was built around 1768 or 1771, during the reign of Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty .The two banyan trees are frequented by tourists and the...

     (林村許願樹) are banyan, and are a popular shrine in Hong Kong. They are located near the Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsuen
    Lam Tsuen
    Lam Tsuen is an area in Tai Po. It is famous for Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees. A river Lam Tsuen River, empties into Tai Po Hoi.-Villages:...

    .
  • In many stories of Philippine Mythology
    Philippine mythology
    Philippine mythology include a collection of tales and superstitions about magical creatures and entities. Some Filipinos, even though heavily westernized and Christianized, still believe on these tales...

    , the banyan, (locally known as balete or balite) is said to be home to a variety of spirits (diwata
    Diwata
    In Philippine mythology, a Diwata , also known as Encantada, is a mythological figure similar to fairies or nymphs. They are nature spirits and live one with mother earth...

    and engkanto
    Engkanto
    Engkanto are environmental spirits that have the ability to appear in human form. They are often associated with the spirits of ancestors in the Philippines. They are also characterized as forest spirits or elves...

    ) and demon-like creatures (among the Visayans, specifically, the dili ingon nato, meaning "those not like us"). Maligno (Evil spirits, from Spanish
    Spanish language
    Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

     for 'malign') associated with it include the kapre
    Kapre
    Kapre is a Philippine mythical creature that could be characterized as a tree demon, but with more human characteristics. It is described as being a tall , brown, hairy male with a beard. Kapres are normally described as smoking a big tobacco pipe, whose strong smell would attract human attention...

    (a giant), duwende (dwarves), and the tikbalang
    Tikbalang
    Tikbalang is a creature of Philippine folklore said to lurk in the mountains and forests of the Philippines. It is generally described as a tall, bony humanoid creature with disproportionately long limbs, to the point that its knees reach above its head when it squats down...

    (a creature whose top half is a horse and whose bottom half is human). Children at a young age are taught never to point at a fully mature banyan tree for fear of offending the spirits that dwell within them, most especially when they are new to the place. Filipinos would always utter a respectful word or two to the spirits in the banyan tree when they are near one, walking near or around it to avoid any harm. Nearly every Filipino believes that provoking the spirits in a banyan tree can cause you great harm, illness, misfortune, untold suffering and death.
  • In Guam
    Guam
    Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

    , 'Chamorro people believe in tales of taotaomona, duende
    Duende (mythology)
    A duende is a fairy- or goblin-like mythological creature from Iberian, Latin American and Filipino folklore. While its nature varies throughout Spain, Portugal, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking America and the Philippines, analogues from other cultures include the Danish-Norwegian Nisse, the...

    s and other spirits. Taotaomona are spirits of the ancient Chamorro that act as guardians to banyan trees.

Locations


  • The largest such tree
    The Great Banyan
    The Great Banyan is a banyan tree located in Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah, near Kolkata, India. It was the widest tree in the world in terms of the area of the canopy and is estimated to be about 200 to 250 years old...

     is now found in Kolkata
    Kolkata
    Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

     in India. One of the most famous of banyan trees was planted on the island of Kabirvad in Gujarat. Records show that the Kabirvad tree is more than 300 years old. Another banyan tree planted by William Owen Smith
    William Owen Smith
    William Owen Smith was a lawyer from a family of American missionaries who participated in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He served as attorney general for the entire duration of the provisional Government of Hawaii and the Republic of Hawaii.-Life:Smith was born August 4, 1848 in Kōloa...

     in 1873 in Lahaina's Courthouse Square in Hawaii
    Hawaii
    Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

     has grown to cover two-thirds of an acre.
  • The City of Vadodara
    Vadodara
    Vadodara formerly known as Baroda is the third most populated city in the Indian State of Gujarat . It is one of the four cities with the population of over 1 million...

     & Valsad in western India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     are named after the Banyan Tree.
  • Ta Prohm
    Ta Prohm
    Ta Prohm is the modern name of a temple at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara...

     in the Angkor Wat
    Angkor Wat
    Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu,...

     temple complex of Cambodia
    Cambodia
    Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

     is well known for the giant banyans that grow up, around and through its walls.
  • Several banyans can be found near downtown Hilo, Hawaii. Some of them were planted by celebrities throughout the 20th century and form the Banyan Drive
    Banyan Drive
    Banyan Drive is a tree-lined street at the shoreline of Hilo, Hawaii, coordinates . It is known as the "Hilo Walk of Fame" for the banyan trees planted by celebrities....

    .
  • Strangler figs also occur in areas of Australia such as the Daintree rainforest in Queensland's far north
    Tropical North Queensland
    Tropical North Queensland is general term referring to varying regions of the northern part of the Australian state of Queensland. The generally accepted definition is an area from about the city of Mackay north to the tip of Cape York....

    . Well known is the Curtain Fig Tree
    Curtain Fig Tree
    The Curtain Fig Tree is one of the largest trees in Tropical North Queensland, Australia, and one of the best known attractions on the Atherton Tableland. It is located just out of Yungaburra....

     on the Atherton Tableland
    Atherton Tableland
    The Atherton Tableland is a fertile plateau which is part of the Great Dividing Range in Queensland, Australia. It is located west to south-south-west inland from Cairns, well into the tropics, but its elevated position provides a climate suitable for dairy farming. It has an area of around...

    s.
  • The first banyan tree in the U.S. was planted by Thomas Alva Edison in Fort Myers, Florida
    Fort Myers, Florida
    Fort Myers is the county seat and commercial center of Lee County, Florida, United States. Its population was 62,298 in the 2010 census, a 29.23 percent increase over the 2000 figure....

    . The tree, originally only 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, now covers 400 feet (121.9 m).

Fiction


  • Robinson Crusoe
    Robinson Crusoe
    Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe that was first published in 1719. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character—a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and...

    , in the eponymous 1719 novel by Daniel Defoe
    Daniel Defoe
    Daniel Defoe , born Daniel Foe, was an English trader, writer, journalist, and pamphleteer, who gained fame for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe is notable for being one of the earliest proponents of the novel, as he helped to popularise the form in Britain and along with others such as Richardson,...

    , makes his home in a banyan tree.
  • Brian Aldiss
    Brian Aldiss
    Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE is an English author of both general fiction and science fiction. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss. Greatly influenced by science fiction pioneer H. G. Wells, Aldiss is a vice-president of the international H. G. Wells Society...

    , in his novel Hothouse, describes a future Earth where a single huge banyan covers half of the globe, because individual trees discover the ability to join together, as well as drop adventitious
    Adventitious
    Adventitious has various meanings in various disciplines and in general usage.Adventitious is from the Latin root advenire, meaning "to come or be superadded" and in correct English the meanings tend to have connections to accidental or casual occurrence...

     roots.
  • On the Steely Dan
    Steely Dan
    Steely Dan is an American rock band; its core members are Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The band's popularity peaked in the late 1970s, with the release of seven albums blending elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop...

     album Aja
    AJA
    Aja or AJA may refer to:In anthropology:*Aja people, a people living in Benin**Aja language , the language of the Aja people, part of the Gbe dialect continuum*Aja , an ethnic group living in Sudan...

    , the title track includes the lyrics: "Chinese music under banyan trees / Here at the dude ranch above the sea."
  • The rock band the Dead
    The Dead (band)
    The Dead is an American rock band composed of some of the former members of the Grateful Dead.After the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann formed a band called The Other Ones. They performed concert tours in 1998 , 2000 , and 2002, and released one...

     has a song called "the Banyan Tree."
  • In Stephen R. Donaldson
    Stephen R. Donaldson
    Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction and mystery novelist, most famous for his Thomas Covenant series...

    's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, he describes the giant tree-city of Revelwood being built out of a huge banyan with multiple trunks that occupies an entire valley.
  • A banyan serves as an important metaphor the Avatar: The Last Airbender
    Avatar: The Last Airbender
    Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American animated television series that aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. The series was created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who served as executive producers along with Aaron Ehasz...

     episode "The Swamp."
  • Banyan trees are scattered across the island in the hit TV Series Lost
    Lost (TV series)
    Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

     and they serve as refuge when the characters are being chased by the island's "Monster".
  • In the multi-platform video game Lost: Via Domus John Locke frequently hides in the banyan trees and alerts characters to his whereabouts by repeatedly shouting, "Hey son, over here. I'm over here in the banyan trees."
  • The popular ZX Spectrum game Jet Set Willy
    Jet Set Willy
    Jet Set Willy is a computer game originally written for the ZX Spectrum home computer. It was published in 1984 by Software Projects and ported to most home computers of the time....

     features a difficult room named "The Banyan Tree".
  • The shadow under a giant banyan tree is worshipped by a fictional tribe in The Stone Dance of the Chameleon
    The Stone Dance of the Chameleon
    The Stone Dance of the Chameleon is a fantasy trilogy by Ricardo Pinto. It consists of The Chosen , The Standing Dead and The Third God .The chameleon is the sign of the house of Suth of which the leading character is a son...

  • In the Halo
    Halo (series)
    Halo is a multi-million dollar science fiction video game franchise created by Bungie and now managed by 343 Industries and owned by Microsoft Studios. The series centers on an interstellar war between humanity and a theocratic alliance of aliens known as the Covenant...

     franchise a banyan tree towers on the surface of Onyx, in which Kurt-051 has a small outpost at the top.
  • Leaves of the Banyan Tree is a novel by Albert Wendt
    Albert Wendt
    Albert Wendt, CNZM is a Samoan poet and writer who also lives in New Zealand. Among his works is Leaves of the Banyan Tree .-Biography:...

     set in Samoa.
  • In Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses
    The Satanic Verses
    The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of Prophet Muhammad. As with his previous books, Rushdie used magical realism and relied on contemporary events and people to create his characters...

    , the village of Titlipur is built around an enormous banyan tree, whose roots cover an area "half a mile in diameter." The tree is intrinsic to the village with some villagers building shelters in it and others living in the foliage.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke
    Arthur C. Clarke
    Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

    's novel, 2010: Odyssey Two
    2010: Odyssey Two
    2010: Odyssey Two is a 1982 best-selling science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It is the sequel to the 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, but continues the story of Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation with the same title and not Clarke's original novel. The book is a part of Clarke's...

    , the banyan tree is used several times as a reference to describe a fictional life form native to Europa (moon)
    Europa (moon)
    Europa Slightly smaller than Earth's Moon, Europa is primarily made of silicate rock and probably has an iron core. It has a tenuous atmosphere composed primarily of oxygen. Its surface is composed of ice and is one of the smoothest in the Solar System. This surface is striated by cracks and...

    .

Other


  • Banyan tree is the National Tree of India.
  • The banyan is part of the coat of arms of Indonesia
    Coat of arms of Indonesia
    The National Emblem of Indonesia is called Garuda Pancasila. The main part of Indonesian national emblem is the Garuda with a heraldic shield on its chest and a scroll gripped by its leg. The shield's five emblems represent Pancasila, the five principles of Indonesia's national philosophy...

    . It is meant to symbolize the unity of Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

     - one country with many far-flung roots. As a giant tree, it also symbolizes power. Soeharto used it as a logo for his party, the Golongan Karya (Golkar), taking advantage of the deeply rooted belief of his fellow-countrymen and women in the sacred (sakti) nature of the banyan
  • Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy personnel use the term "banyan" to mean a spell ashore for a barbecue on a deserted beach. "Banyan Rig" denotes the casual (and often traditionally tasteless) clothes worn for these events.
  • The underground roots of a banyan species found in the Amazon are cut into 10 cm lengths, dried and smoked regularly to relieve pain. This practice originated in the Amazon. There are no visible side effects.
  • Paul Simon
    Paul Simon
    Paul Frederic Simon is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.Simon is best known for his success, beginning in 1965, as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, with musical partner Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote most of the pair's songs, including three that reached number one on the US singles...

     references the banyan in his 1990 song Spirit Voices, from the album The Rhythm of the Saints. In his tale of experiencing shamanism and ayahuasca he notes "We slept on the banks on the leaves of a banyan tree."
  • In the song "Krakatowa" from her solo CD Perplexions
    Perplexions
    Perplexions is an album by Rasputina frontwoman Melora Creager which was released on December 4, 2006, by the Filthy Bonnet Recording Company.-Track listing:#"Girl Lunar Explorer"#"Warbots"#"Sky Is Falling"#"Border Village"#"Krakatowa"...

    , musical artist Melora Creager
    Melora Creager
    Melora Creager, formerly Melora Mather, is an American cellist and singer-songwriter best known for her role as lead singer and chief composer of the cello rock trio Rasputina....

     referenced banyan trees. In the song about the volcanic island, she sings, "On the dark side of the volcano, under the old banyan tree."
  • The Economist
    The Economist
    The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

    , a British newspaper, features an opinion column covering topics pertaining to Asia named "Banyan".

External links