Ficus benghalensis

Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) The Mehrstämmigkeit is typical of the type.

The Banyan (Ficus benghalensis), also known as Bengali or banyan fig, is a species of the subgenus Urostigma from the kind of figs ( Ficus ) in the family of the mulberry family ( Moraceae ). The type, native to southern and western India, is now to be found throughout the tropics. Falsely are also other species of the genus Urostigma, such as the Moreton Bay Fig, sometimes referred to as banyan tree.


The Banyan growing epiphytic on any host tree, the first takes no damage because the Banyan is not a parasite. He sends out aerial roots that develop over time into a dense network. Do the roots reached the bottom, there is a growth spurt, since the plant is now no longer dependent solely on the substrate, which has accumulated on the host tree. With increasing growth of the host tree is crushed and eventually dies.

Banyan trees reach a height of 20 meters, rarely to 30 meters. The bark is gray and smooth, the irregularly shaped trunk is short and soon divides into wide sweeping branches. The wood is soft, slightly durable and of little economic benefit. The side branches arise from air roots that thicken in contact with the ground and stem similar to support the crown. In this way the Banyan can be covered with a bottom surface of time of several hundred square meters. The roots are flat below the surface and are far-reaching. The banyan tree has large, leathery leaves. They are ovate to elliptic with a rounded or slightly heart- shaped base, the front, they end up dull. The petiole is 1.5 inches long, the stipules are 2 to 2.5 inches long and wrap the buds, they will fall off when the sheet unfolds. The young leaves are reddish in color and as well as young twigs pubescent soft. The leaves stick around for a year on the tree, then the whole Beblätterung is replaced by new shoots within a short time.

The flowers are grouped in specialized, typical of figs inflorescences. These inflorescences contained in the banyan fig male, female and sterile flowers at the same time. The male flowers are clustered at the opening of the inflorescence, they consist of four broad petals and a stamen. Female flowers have reduced petals and a long stylus. Sterile flowers also form from broad petals and a short pen. The wasp Eupristina masonii pollinated the flowers of the banyan fig. It penetrates into the inflorescence and backed by the stylus eggs in the ovules, where the larvae develop. Unripe fruits carry a white milky sap. The figs are eaten by birds, bats, squirrels and monkeys, which contributes to the spread of the trees in the faeces.


The banyan fig was originally native to northwest India on the slopes of the Himalayas, the Deccan mountains and in the south of India. Today, it is widely used by plantations throughout Southeast Asia.


The banyan fig is planted as a park tree, where she has through its size and wide crown molding a high ornamental value. The wood is rarely used occasionally for shoring under water; harder and more elastic is the wood of the buttress roots. From young air roots crude ropes can be manufactured.

The milky juice is sometimes used medicinally as well as the root tips.

In India, the banyan tree is especially revered by Hindus as a sacred tree. Branches of the banyan fig are used in ritual activities.

Systematics and botanical history

Ficus benghalensis was described in 1737 by Carl Linnaeus, which he later used the name ficus indica. The species name refers to the region of Bengal. The term " banyan " comes from Banyas, Hindu traders in the Persian Gulf, back. These gathered under certain trees; the name was transferred by Europeans on the trees.

A closely related species is Ficus arnottiana. There are some in the leaf shape and in the training of aerial roots differing populations; one of them is sometimes separated as Ficus krishnae.