Fairy Tale Trees
January 29, 2010 § 9 Comments
There are amazing and wonderful pictures (elsewhere) of the banyan tree. Still and all, to be slogging nonchalantly around the southern streets and suddenly see these arbory monoliths, well, some of us slip immediately into a mythical world, a fantasy of living stuff that makes one go right up and touch tthe tree, it doesn’t flinch and fortunately doesn’t mind yet oddly when photographing them (as amateur), they don’t translate. It would take time, methinks, to circle the tree and just keep shooting and shooting with a delicate smart camera. But then, the photographer is completely distracted to see an avenue of these mighty wood structures, and boom, here comes the plot of a fairy tale again. Perhaps to sit amongst its roots while writing…!
These don’t grow in Missouri, oh no, they prefer consistently warmer climes who won’t trick them with the occasional icy wind or some errant blast of strangled strange weather.
So I had to learn a little about them, and share a few things remarkable enough to be remembered and repeated. You never know when you might need to wax a wee bit knowledgeable about the mighty banyan.
My thanks and a shoutout to the quirky-not-100-percent-right-on Wikipedia for the following slight info:
“The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground, and may envelope part of the host tree or building structure with their roots, giving them the casual name of “strangler fig.” Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots which 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.
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.
Buddha is believed to have achieved enlightenment in Bodhgaya in India while meditating under a banyan tree of the species Sacred Fig. The tree is known as Bodhi Tree.
The first banyan tree in the U.S. was planted by Thomas Alva Edison in Fort Myers, Florida. The tree, originally only 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, now covers 400 feet (120 m).”