World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ficus benghalensis


Ficus benghalensis

Ficus benghalensis
An Indian banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) in front of the Edison museum in Fort Myers, Florida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus
Species: F. benghalensis
Binomial name
Ficus benghalensis
L. 1753
  • Ficus banyana Oken
  • Ficus benghalensis var. krishnae (C.DC.) Corner
  • Ficus chauvieri G.Nicholson
  • Ficus cotoneifolia Vahl
  • Ficus cotonifolia Stokes
  • Ficus crassinervia Kunth & C.D.Bouché
  • Ficus karet Baill.
  • Ficus krishnae C.DC.
  • Ficus lancifolia Moench
  • Ficus lasiophylla Link )
  • Ficus procera Salisb.
  • Ficus pubescens B.Heyne ex Roth
  • Ficus umbrosa Salisb.
  • Perula benghalensis Raf.
  • Urostigma benghalense (L.) Gasp.
  • Urostigma crassirameum Miq.)
  • Urostigma procerum Miq.
  • Urostigma pseudorubrum Miq.
  • Urostigma rubescens Miq.
  • Urostigma sundaicum Miq.
  • Urostigma tjiela Miq.

Ficus benghalensis, with the common name Indian banyan and वट वृक्ष in Hindi, 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 1
  • Ecology 2
  • Cultural significance 3
  • Notable specimens 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Other names

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)[4] and is very commonly paired with Ficus religiosa (commonly known as Peepul/Badla (पीपल/बड़ला)) to make Chautaris (चौतारी)[5] 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.[6] 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 figs produced by the tree are eaten by birds such as the Indian myna. Fig seeds that pass through the digestive system of birds are more likely to germinate and sprout earlier.[2]

Banyan fruit at Indira Gandhi Zoo park, Visakhapatnam

Cultural significance

Ficus bengalensis is the national tree of the Republic of India.[3]

The tree is considered sacred in India,[4] 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 the twenty seventh Lord Buddha called "Kassapa - කස්සප". The sacred plant is known as "Nuga - නුග" or "Maha nuga - මහ නුග" in Sri Lanka.[5]

Notable specimens

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.[6] 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 River. 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.[7]

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


  1. ^ LinnaeusFicus benghalensisThe Plant List,
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "National Tree".  
  4. ^ Simoons, F.J. (1998). Plants of Life, Plants of Death. University of Wisconsin Press.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bar-Ness, YD (March 2013). "Giant Banyans - The World's Largest Trees?". GEO (89). 
  7. ^  

Further reading

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.  

External links

  • L.Ficus benghalensisBar or Bargad , Horticulture, Purdue University
  • in Himalayas, Nepal.Ficus benghalensis Himalayas (Himalaya): photos, images, pictures
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.