I’ve seen and heard of the Banyan tree – “the tree that walks”.
It did not quite look like the tree that is “walking” very suspiciously in my back garden.
I’m not sure if it’s a Banyan but hopefully some knowledgeable person will let us know.
The tree in my garden has a “friend” in my neighbour’s garden – it has grown into and around a fish pond pump. My neighbour had to partially remove his “Banyan”.
My well-behaved ”Banyan” has only grown right through some loose fencing, but it is moving with stealth towards other objects.
Whatever it type of tree it is, I feel blessed by its presence.
“A banyan (also banian) 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 structures like buildings and bridges).
“Banyan” often refers specifically to the Indian banyan or Ficus benghalensis, the national tree of India, though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a unique life cycle, and systematically to refer to the subgenus Urostigma.
Like other fig species (which includes the common edible fig Ficus carica), banyans have unique fruit structures and are dependent on fig wasps for reproduction. The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground, which may envelop part of the host tree or building structure, giving banyans the casual name of “strangler fig”.
In Hinduism, the leaf of the banyan tree is said to be the resting place for the God Krishna.
In the Bhagavat Gita Krishna said “There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down, and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.” (Bg 15.1)
Here the material world is described as a tree whose roots are upwards and branches are below. We have experience of a tree whose roots are upward: if one stands on the bank of a river or any reservoir of water, he can see that the trees reflected in the water are upside down. The branches go downward and the roots upward.
Similarly, this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. The material world is but a shadow of reality. In the shadow there is no reality or substantiality, but from the shadow we can understand that there is substance and reality.
The “strangling” growth habit is found in a number of tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus, that compete for light. Any Ficus species showing this habit may be termed a strangler fig.
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. The original support tree can sometimes die, so that the banyan becomes a “columnar tree” with a hollow central core.
Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area.”