Ficus benghalensis - Indian Banyan Tree
Banyan Tree Scientific Name
Do you know Indian Banyan Tree is the national tree of India? The botanical name of the banyan tree is Ficus benghalensis.
Banyan Tree Common Names
Banyan Trees are known by various names in different languages. Here are some names commonly used.
Hindi – Bargad ka ped
Marathi – Vatvruksha, Vadache zad
English- Indian Banyan Fig Tree, Banyan Tree, Banyan Fig, Strangler Fig
Why is Banyan Tree called as Strangler Fig?
Banyan tree grows fast and shoots out aerial roots. It can grow upto 30 feet tall and live for a long time. The reason that this tree is called Strangler fig is because it likes to lean on other trees when they start. Birds like Indian Myna love to eat the fruits of Banyan, when they excrete the seeds, they usually land on nooks and crannies of other trees. The seeds then germinate and start growing eventually crushing the tree on which they grow.
Vat Purnima Festival
The banyan tree is also used for various cultural rituals like Vat Purnima. Married women, dress up in traditional costumes, tie a cotton thread around the tree, and pray for the long life of their husbands. There is an interesting legend of Savitri-Satyavan associated with it.
Banyan Tree Leaves- Biodegradable Plates
The leaves of the banyan tree are shiny and stiff. They are commonly used to make completely biodegradable plates and bowls which are very commonly used in India, known as Patravali.
A Place for Meet-ups
Banyan Tree- A Place to Hang Out (Par)
The huge banyan trees offered valuable shade in older days when there were no proper roads. People had to walk several miles to go from one village to another. The shade of these trees is still used as rest stops where people can take a rest and chat with each other. In many villages, even today banyan tree is a place to hang out with friends, sell vegetables, or other services like hair cutting, and astrological advice (Jyotish). These huge trees wrapped in roots look very pretty but at night they might look scary like a big shadow of the unknown. The monster-like shape of the banyan tree has inspired many writers to write ghost stories.
National Tree of India - Indian Banyan Tree
banyan tree is a National tree of India. You can find a postal stamp with a picture of a Banyan tree on it. The largest known Banyan tree is in Andhra Pradesh, India which covers 19,107 square meters.