Saturday, April 14, 2007

Banyan Fig

In the City Botanic Gardens there is a large Banyan Fig on the QUT Gardens Point campus edge. Planted in 1870's and native to India, the Banyan fig acquired its name from the Hindu merchant caste, the Banyans, who set up there stalls under the shelter of the trees. It is renowned for its vast growth and the aerial roots it sends down to support branch growth. Although this tree is quite large, in their native India they have been known to expand to well over a hectare.

In Hindu religion, the banyan tree is considered sacred. It represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever-expanding branches. A Hindu belief was that the Brahman represented itself as Banyan Tree with the spirit living on in these trees. Because of this belief, they are encouraged to grow and are rarely pruned in India even though their roots can cause significant damage to any surrounding buildings and temples.

Like the similar Moreton Bay Figs, this fig tree is quite spectacular. If you had one of these in your backyard, you wouldn't have space for much else - but it would be better than any cubby-house. For a game of hidey-chasey they provide ample spaces to hide, and its great to climb into the trees so that any kid who tries to chase you can't quite reach.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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