Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Magnificent Banyan Tree "Vata Vriksha"

The Banyan at Vellore outskirts-.pic taken by me on 31st Jan 2011.
Pic. Banyan Tree  at South Gate, Theosphical Society, Beasant Avenue-
Adyar Chennai 

There are supposed to be more than 3000 types of Ficus Variety of Trees 
-researching the tree is a subject by itself as it has so many connections in religion, culture, tradition, mythlogy, ornamental and even in fiction eg Robinson Crusoe's story -where the house is located in a Banyan Tree - . 

What ever one may feel, the Banyan  it is indeed a magnicent tree and has inspired one and all.Such a tree is in the pics taken near Vellore recently--
A banyan (also banian) is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges). "Banyan" often refers specifically to the Indian Banyan or Ficus benghalensis, the National tree of India,[1] though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a unique life cycle, and systematically to refer to the subgenus Urostigma.[2] The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating 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." The "strangling" growth habit is found in a number of tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus,[3][4][5] 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.[6]
Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots 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 wasps for reproduction.
that compete for light.
The name was originally given to F. benghalensis and comes from India where early travellers observed that the shade of the tree was frequented by banias or Indian traders.[7]
In the Gujarati 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

The Banyan at Vellore outskirts.
pic taken by me on 31st Jan 2011

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