Table of Contents
“Desire may be compared to a minute seed. It is like a big banyan tree growing out of a seed, which is no bigger than a dot”- Sarada Devi. Are you curious to know about the national tree of India? Let’s explore together. Happy Reading!
Which is the National Tree of India?
The national tree of India in English is Ficus benghalensis, popularly known as the Indian Fig tree or banyan tree. The tree is a symbol of devotion and is treated as a sacred entity in Hindu Philosophy. The shade provided by the banyan tree depicts the shade provided by the Indian nation to the citizens. The tree is part of the fabled Kaplpa Vriksha. The banyan tree is also known as the ‘Tree of Wish Fulfilment’. The banyan tree is commonly associated with longevity. The Banyan tree has important medicinal properties. For the village communities of India, the banyan tree plays a central role in maintaining balance and peace. National tree of India in Hindi is बरगद
The banyan tree is the habitat for a large number of creatures. Banyan tree is massive both in and out. The banyan tree can sprout new shoots from the roots. The tree consists of many tangled branches and trunks. The tree is magnificent in its appearance. It has the widest-reaching roots among other trees. The banyan tree usually covers several acres of the land.
The Indian nation tree i.e., the banyan tree symbolizes immortality. The tree has high longevity and is regarded as an immortal tree. The branches of the banyan tree root themselves like new trees and cover large areas on the earth’s surface. The major characteristics of the banyan tree are its longevity. The tree is regarded as immortal and it plays a major role in Indian myths and legends. The banyan tree is the major attraction of the village. Even now, the village meetings are held under the shade of this glorious immortal tree.
What is the symbol of National Tree of India
The national tree is the symbol of the identity of a country. The national tree is integral to the cultural and social development of each nation. The Indian national tree stands as the symbol of the pride and glory of the nation. There is a cultural significance associated with the national tree of India. The moral and integral growth of the nation is evident from the sight of the national tree. The native origin of the tree is of greater symbolic significance. The national tree is a powerful vehicle for propagating the philosophical and spiritual values of the nation. The cultural values that are deeply embedded in the country’s heritage can be seen in the national tree.
Major Features of the Banyan Tree
One of the largest trees in the world, the banyan tree can grow up to 20-25 m. the banyan tree can spread branches up to 100 m. The massive trunk of the banyan tree has smooth greenish-brown bark. The bark is fluted, the roots are powerful. The powerful root of the banyan tree can penetrate deep into the soil. Even the roots can penetrate the hard surface like rocks, stones and marbles. The older banyan tree consists of thick branch like roots as they grow old and powerful while the new banyan tree has aerial prop roots that are thin and fibrous. The aerial roots of the banyan tree are the sole reason for the wide canopy of the tree. The tree initially grows with the supporting tree and later establishes itself. The mesh of the tree exerts much pressure on the supporting tree. The leaves of the banyan tree are thick and stout. It has small petioles. Two lateral scales fall off from the leaf buds as the leaves mature.
The leaves are flat with fine veins on the upper surface and are covered with fine and small hairs on the lower side. leaf lamina has a coriaceous shape, with ovate or orb ovate to elliptic shape. About 10-20cm is the dimension of the leaves. The breadth of the leaves ranges between 8-15cm. The flowers grow within a type of inflorescence called Hypanthodium. This is the major feature of the trees belonging to the fig family. The banyan tree encloses both the male and the female flowers with an opening on top known as the ostioles. The fruits of the banyan tree are of globose figs type. The colour of the banyan fruit is pinkish red with 15-2.5 cm diameter. The fruit possesses external hairs.
The Banyan Tree: Scientific Classification
Are you not interested in knowing about the scientific classification of the majestic banyan tree? Let’s explore!
Importance of Banyan Tree
- In the Hindu religion, the banyan tree is called ‘Ashwath Vriksha”.
- The banyan tree has religious significance as it is called sacred and is devoted by many people.
- According to Bhagavad Gita, the Banyan tree is glorious and mighty in all its outlook. It states “I am Banyan tree among trees”
- The Banyan tree can represent eternal life as it has ever-expanding branches.
- The banyan tree is popularly known as kalpavriksha or in other words ‘wish-fulfilling divine tree’.
- Banyan tree is part of Indonesian culture as it is called the coat of arms of Indonesia
- The banyan tree represents the unity of the Indonesian people and has created a huge impact in the lives of ordinary lives.
- The roots of the banyan tree can cluster itself as it can cover half of the globe
- The deep penetrating roots of the banyan tree can act as a support system
- The banyan tree can support and sustain life.
- Ta Prohm in the Ankor Wat temple complex is significantly known for the giant banyan trees growing through its wall and premises.
- The aerial prop roots of the old banyan trees can be indistinguishable from the main trunk.
- The banyan trees can cover a wide area and provide shelter for several varieties of species.
- The largest banyan tree is found in Kolkata India.
Where are Banyan Trees Found?
- The banyan trees can be usually spotted over the tropical and sub-tropical parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- The tree can cover two three acres of the land
- Banyan tree is the largest tree in the world by the canopy coverage
- They can grow well in the forest, rural and urban areas of the country
- They grow by utilizing the support of the branches of the big trees resulting in the ultimate destruction of the host tree.
- In urban areas, the growth condition of the banyan tree by penetrating through the walls can be called as stranglers.
- The largest banyan tree in India is found at the Indian Botanical Garden in Shibpur, in West Bengal. The banyan tree is around 25 m tall and the canopy covers around 420 m with a total number of 2000 spreading aerial roots.
Random Facts about the Banyan Tree
- banyans bear their fruit in the form of a structure called a “syconium”.
- The Syconium of Ficusspecies supply shelter and food for fig wasps
- the banyan trees depend on the fig wasps for pollination.
- Frugivore birds are small species of birds that disperse the seeds of banyans.
- The seeds of the banyan tree are small,
- Banyan trees bear the colloquial name “strangler fig“.
- The tropical banyan species that compete for sunlight, exhibits the strangling habit.
- The leaves of the banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy, green, and elliptical.
- the leaf bud of the banyan tree is covered by two large scales.
- Young leaves of the banyan have an attractive reddish tinge.
- Older banyan trees are characterized by aerial prop roots
- The topology of the massive root system of the banyan tree has inspired the name of “Banyan VINES”.
- The banyan becomes a “columnar tree” with a hollow, central core
- In jungles, the hollows of the banyan trees can provide shelters to many animals.
List of Banyan Trees from the history
- Thimmamma Marrimanu is a banyan tree in Anantapur, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. The tree can be seen in the Indian Botanical Gardens and is more than 550 years old.
- The Great Banyan tree is found in Kolkata, India. The tree is more than 250 years old and covers 4.67 acres.
- Dodda Aalada Mara, the “Big Banyan Tree”, is found in Bangalore, India
- Iolani Palace banyans in Honolulu, Hawaii
- Banyan Tree in Lahaina planted by William Owen Smith
- Kalpabata is inside the premises of Jagannath Temple in Puri.
- banyan tree in Cypress Gardens, in Florida.
- In Indonesia, the banyan tree is seen as a manifestation of the third principle of Pancasila.
- Indonesia, the banyan tree is also used in the emblem of Golkar.
- In Vanuatu, the clearings under banyan trees are used as traditional meeting places.
Why Banyan Tree and Not any Other Trees?
The banyan tree is the only tree with large expanding roots. It can be easily spotted in every nook and corner of India. The Banyan tree is not under any kind of threat of extinction. The banyan tree can symbolise eternal life and longevity. Banyan tree can stand as the identity of India. The banyan tree can easily associate with the unity and integrity of India. The huge structure and the deep penetrating roots have cultural and artistic significance. The tree can stand as the pride symbol for the identity of the Indian Nation. The banyan tree can be easily identified by the common man. It can be easily spotted across the country. The tree can cover up a two-thirds acre of the land.
Propagation of the Banyan Tree
- Propagated through small birds.
- The small birds can ingest the figs of the banyan tree and can excrete the undigested seeds
- Begins the life as an epiphyte
- Uses the other mature trees as supporting hosts
- The banyan trees can be either propagated through root tip cuttings or eye cuttings.
- Banyan tree demands high moisture content in the initial stage of the growth
- Banyan trees can act as drought-resistant after establishing the roots.
- The plant may be grown indoors as Bonsai.
The Economic Value of the Banyan Tree
- The fruits of the banyan tree are edible and nutritious.
- They are helpful in soothing skin irritations and alleviate the swelling.
- The bark and leaf extracts of the banyan tree are used to arrest bleeding.
- By the method of infusion of the leaf buds, chronic diarrhoea/dysentery can be treated.
- Bleeding piles can be relieved with a few drops of latex.
- female sterility can be treated with young banyan tree roots
- gum and teeth problems can be prevented by the use of the aerial roots
- Aerial roots can be used to clean teeth.
- for curing rheumatism, joint pain and lumbago the latex of the banyan tree can be used.
- to heal sores and ulcers the banyan latex seems to be helpful
- to relieve nausea Infusion of barks can be used.
- The banyan tree produces shellac which is used as a surface polisher and adhesive.
- The shellac is produced by lac producing insects that live in the banyan tree.
- metals such as brass or copper can be polished by milk sap extracted from the banyan tree.
- The wood of the banyan tree is often used as firewood.
- Banyan Tree and its Cultural Significance
- The banyan tree has a large cultural significance.
- considered sacred among the Hindu population
- Many of the temples and shrines are built under the shade of a banyan tree
- Banyan tree is commonly symbolic of an eternal life
- Because of its longevity, it can act as a cultural indicator
- Married Hindu women often practice religious rituals around the banyan tree
- The devotes pray for the long life and well-being of their family by circling the banyan tree.
- The Hindu Supreme deity Shiva is depicted as sitting and meditating under a banyan tree.
- The tree is also considered a symbol of the Trimurti in Hindu mythology
- Lord Brahma is seen as the roots, Lord Vishnu is considered as the trunk and Lord Shiva is believed to be the branches.
- According to Buddhism, Gautam Buddha attained Bodhi by meditating under a banyan tree
- The banyan tree plays a vital role in Buddhism and Jainism
- The banyan tree can be seen as the basis of the rural establishment.
- The shade of the banyan is a site of human-human interaction
- The banyan tree act as a platform for peaceful human communication.
- The banyan tree never allows anything to grow under its shade.
- As it never allows mutual growth, the banyan tree is considered inauspicious in ceremonies like marriages.