This Banyan will be planted in our jungle boardwalk area. One of its purposes is to give shade to other trees and plants in the jungle and also to be a host to be a variety of vines and ferns that will be planted on it.
A Banyan is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte (a plant growing on another plant) when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree or on buildings and bridges. “Banyan” often refers specifically to the Indian banyan (Ficus benghalensis), which is the national tree of the Republic of India.
The leaves of the banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy green and elliptical in shape. Like most fig-trees, the leaf bud is covered by two large scales. As the leaf develops the scales fall. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge.
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. In some species the effect is for the props to develop into a sort of forest covering a considerable area, every trunk connected directly or indirectly to the central trunk. The topology of this structure of interconnection inspired the name of the hierarchical computer network operating system Banyan VINES.
In a banyan that envelops a support tree the mesh of roots growing round the support tree eventually applies very considerable pressure and commonly kills the tree. Such an enveloped dead tree eventually rots away so that the banyan becomes a “columnar tree” with a hollow central core. In jungles such hollows are particularly desirable shelters to many animals.
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