Description: Spreading trees, to 30 m high; aerial roots numerous; bark greyish-white, smooth; exudation milky. Leaves simple, alternate, 10-20×5-12.5 cm, ovate, base rounded or subcordate, apex obtuse, margin entire, coriaceous; 3-7-ribbed from base, lateral nerves 4-6 pairs, pinnate, prominent; stipules lateral, 2-2.5 cm long, sheathing. Flowers unisexual; inflorescence a syconia, sessile, in axillary pairs, globose; basal bracts 3, broad, round, glabrous, coriaceous, persistent. Fruit 1.5-2 cm across, orange to red when ripe, achenes 2×1.5 mm, globoseellipsoid, dark brown.
Indian banyan's facts
Did you know?
The genus Ficus has about 900 species of trees, shrubs, and vines commonly called figs. The Banyan tree grows well in regions that have a tropical climate.
The banyan tree starts its growth as a plant that grows on another plant (epiphyte). This tree is also known as the strangler fig because it is capable of completely blanketing the host tree with its growth and cuts off sunlight and nutrients from reaching the host plant. Eventually, the host tree dies.
Only eaten when better foods are not available.
Indian banyan's Behavior & Ecology
Indian banyan's Reproduction
Propagation is by seed and stem cuttings. Seeds are dispersed by birds, and seeds germinate and grow on other trees (host), eventually overgrowing and strangling and shading the host trees to death. Banyan tree needs a specific pollinator wasp named Eupristina masoni without which it can not reproduce and spread by seeds. In Maldives, stem and branch cuttings are the common method followed for propagation. Cuttings of any size are used and establishment is improved by shade and watering. Wildlings are also used for propagation.
Indian banyan's Conservation
Status: abundant; found in forested areas and nearby residential places in almost in all islands.
Threats: The popullation of this species are decreasing due to deforestation for development.
Indian banyan's Relationship with Humans
It is a major avenue tree in Maldives. Various insects living on the tree produce a resinous secretion called lac which is the main ingredient of shellac used to produce French polish. Wood from aerial roots is used as poles and cart yokes. In traditional medicine, the latex is applied externally for treating pains and bruises, and is a remedy for toothache.