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Ficus religiosa

(Bo Tree)

Overview

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Large tree with heart-shaped leaves having long drawn-out tips , native to India.

From central and eastern Himalayas, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists, being the tree under which Buddha received enlightenment. A sprig carried to Sri Lanka in 288 BC by a disciple still survives in the temple of Anuradhapura (Corner, 1988). F. benghalensis: It differs from the banyan (Ficus Indica) by sending down no roots from its branches. Ficus religiosa , the sacred 'bo tree' of Burma, Ceylon and India. It is said the Buddha sat under its shade for six years while he developed his philosophy of the meaning of existence. To this day, worshipers place gifts of flowers at the base of its trunk , and its intricately-veined, skeletonized leaves are painted with lovely country scenes. The English name 'banyan' comes from the 'banians,' or Hindu merchants who set up markets in the shade of these enormous multi-trunked trees.

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Bengali:

Pipal, Pippal

Common Names in Burmese:

Bawdi Nyaung, Lagat, Mai Nyawng, Nyaung Bawdi

Common Names in Chinese:

Pu Ti Shu, Si Wei Shu

Common Names in Danish:

Buddhafigen

Common Names in Dutch:

Pagodenboom

Common Names in English:

Bo Tree, Bo-Tree, Bodhi Tree, Botree, Buddha Tree, Peepal Tree, Peepul, Peepul Tree, Peepul Tree (Nepal), Peepultree, Pipal, Pipal Tree, Pipal Tree (India), Pippala (India), Po Tree (Thailand), Sacred Ficus, Sacred Fig, Sacred Fig Tree

Common Names in French:

Arbre Bo De, Figuier De L´inde, Figuier Des Banians, Figuier Des Pagodes, Figuier Indien, Figuier Sacré, Figuier Sacré De Bodh-Gaya

Common Names in German:

Bo-Baum, Bobaum, Bodhi-Baum, Heiliger Feigenbaum, Pappelfeige, Pepul-Baum, Pepulbaum Der Inder

Common Names in Gujarati:

Jari, Pipal, Pipers, Piplo

Common Names in Hindi:

Pipal, Pipali, Pipli, Pipul, पीपल, िपपल

Common Names in Italian:

Fico Del Diavolo

Common Names in Japanese:

Indo Bodaiju

Common Names in Kannada:

Arali, Arati, Aswatha

Common Names in Khmer:

Pu

Common Names in Laotian:

Kok Pho

Common Names in Malayalam:

Arayal (Kerala), Arei Al, Ashwatham

Common Names in Marathi:

Pimpal

Common Names in Nepalese:

Pipal, Pippal

Common Names in Portuguese:

Figueira-Dos-Pagodes, Figueira-Religiosa

Common Names in Sanskrit:

Ashvatha, Ashvathha, Asvattha, Aswattha, Piippala, Pippala Vruksham, Shuchidruma, Vrikshraj, Yajnika

Common Names in Serbian:

Gumi-Lak Smokva, Indijska Smokva

Common Names in Sinhalese:

Araca Maram, Bo, Bodhi

Common Names in Spanish:

Arbol Sagrado De La India, Higuera De Agua, Higuera De Las Pagodas, Higuera Religiosa De La India, Higuera Sagrada De Los Budistas

Common Names in Tamil:

Aracamaram, Arachu (Ceylon), Aracu, Arali, Arasamaram, Arasi Maram, Arasu

Common Names in Telugu:

Bodhi, Raavi Chettu, Ragichettu, Ravi

Common Names in Thai:

Pho, Pho Si Maha Pho (Central Thailand), Sali (Northern Thailand)

Common Names in Urdu:

Jori, Peepal, Usto

Description

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Family Moraceae

Trees , shrubs , vines , or rarely herbs, frequently with milky or watery latex, sometimes spiny . Stipules present, frequently caducous . Leaves alternate, rarely opposite; petiole often present and well-defined; leaf blade simple , sometimes with cystoliths , margin entire or palmately lobed , venation pinnate or palmate. Inflorescences axillary , frequently paired , racemose, spicate , capitate, or rarely cymose , sometimes a fig or syconium with flowers completely enclosed within a hollow receptacle. Flowers unisexual (plants monoecious or dioecious), small to very small. Calyx lobes (1 or) 2-4(-8), free or connate , imbricate or valvate . Corolla absent. Male flowers: stamens as many as and opposite to calyx lobes (except in Artocarpus), straight or inflexed in bud; anthers 1- or 2-loculed, crescent-shaped to top-shaped; pistillode (rudimentary sterile pistil) often present. Female flowers: calyx lobes usually 4; ovary superior, semi-inferior, or inferior, 1(or 2) -loculed; ovules 1 per locule, anatropous or campylotropous; style branches 1 or 2; stigmas usually filiform . Fruit usually a drupe, rarely an achene, enveloped by an enlarged calyx and/or immersed in a fleshy receptacle, often joined into a syncarp. Seed solitary; endosperm present or absent.

Between 37 and 43 genera and 1100–1400 species: widespread in tropical and subtropical areas, less common in temperate areas; nine genera and 144 species (26 endemic, five introduced ) in China.

Economically, the most important species are those of Morus and Maclura associated with the production of silk . Some species in Broussonetia, Maclura, and Morus are important for paper making; some species in Artocarpus, Ficus, and Morus have edible fruit; and some species of Artocarpus and Broussonetia are used for furniture or timber.[1]

Genus Ficus

Trees , shrubs , or woody vines , evergreen or deciduous, commonly epiphytic or scandent as seedlings; sap milky . Terminal buds surrounded by pair of stipules. Leaves alternate, monomorphic (dimorphic in F . pumila ) ; stipules caducous , fused, enclosing naked buds. Leaf blade : margins entire (lobed in F . carica ), rarely dentate ; venation pinnate or nearly palmate. Inflorescences small, borne on inner walls of fruitlike and fleshy receptacle (syconium) . Flowers: staminate and pistillate on same plant. Staminate flowers sessile or pedicellate ; calyx of 2-6 sepals; stamens 1-2, straight. Pistillate flowers sessile; ovary 1-locular; style unbranched, lateral . Syconia globose to pyriform ; achenes completely embedded in enlarged, fleshy, common receptacle and accessible by apical opening (ostiole) closed by small scales . x = 13.

Species ca. 750: tropics and subtropics, chiefly Asian.

Worldwide, Ficus is one of the largest genera of flowering plants . Members of the genus are usually treated as a separate tribe within Moraceae because of their unique inflorescence and wasp-dependent system of pollination.

The floral characters (especially of the American species, which are quite uniform ) are exceedingly difficult to use or of little value in distinguishing species. Therefore they are not used in the species descriptions. The form of the syconium, however, is often significant and taxonomically useful.[2]

Physical Description

Species Ficus religiosa

Trees , evergreen , to 30 m. Bark of trunks and older branches brown, smooth . Branchlets glabrous . Leaves: stipules ovate , to 5 cm; petiole slender, 3.5-13 cm. Leaf blade broadly ovate to ovate-orbiculate, 7-25 × 4-16 cm, thinly leathery, base rounded to truncate , margins entire, occasionally wavy, apex abruptly long-caudate or long-acuminate, tip to 2.5-9 cm; surfaces occasionally glaucous, glabrous; basal veins 2(-3) pairs; lateral veins 6-9 pairs, the main veins finely reticulate . Syconia paired , sessile, dark purple, nearly globose , 1-1.5 × 1-1.5 cm, glabrous; subtending bracts ovate, 3-5 mm, silky-puberulous; ostiole closed by 3 bracts 2-3 mm wide, umbonate . [source]

Habit: Tree

Flowers: Bloom Period: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. • Flower Color: chartreuse, yellow-green

Size/Age/Growth

Size: over 40' tall.

Habitat

Disturbed thickets; 0-10 m ; introduced [3].

Biology

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Reproduction

Duration: Perennial

Growth

Culture: Space 30-40' apart.

Soil: Minimum pH: 6.1 • Maximum pH: 7.8

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 10b, 11. (map)

Taxonomy

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Synonyms

Urostigma religiosum (Linnaeus) Gasparrini

Notes

Publishing author : Decne. ex Miq. Publication : Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugduno-Batavi iii. 287

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Ficus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 164 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus. Here are just 100 of them:

F. afghanistanica (Fig Tree) · F. albert-smithii (Figueira-Do-Alberto) · F. altissima (Council Tree) · F. altissima 'Aureo Variegata' (Council Tree) · F. amazonica (Figueira-Amaz) · F. americana (Jamaican Cherry Fig) · F. aripuanensis (Figueira-De-Aripuana) · F. arnottiana (Crow Fig (Ceylon)) · F. aspera (Mosaic Fig) · F. aurea (Florida Strangler Fig) · F. auriculata (Elephant Ear Fig Tree) · F. bengalensis (Banyan Tree) · F. benghalensis (Ban Yan) · F. benghalensis 'Bengal Tiger' (Ban Yan) · F. benjamina (Benjamin Fig) · F. benjamina 'Exotica' (Exotic Fig) · F. benjamina 'Golden Princess' (Weeping Chinese Banyan) · F. Benjamina 'Jamie K' (Chinese Banyan) · F. benjamina 'Natasha' (Miniature Ficus) · F. benjamina 'Starlight' (Chinese Banyan) · F. benjamina 'Variegata' (Chinese Banyan) · F. benjamina 'Wintergreen' (Chinese Banyan) · F. binnendijkii (Long-Leaf Fig) · F. binnendykii (Narrow Leaf Ficus) · F. blepharophylla (Mulemb) · F. broadwayi (Gameleira-Do-Cerrado) · F. calyptroceras (Gameleira-Branca) · F. capensis (Broom Cluster Fig) · F. carica (Brevo) · F. carica 'Alma' (Fig Tree) · F. carica 'Black Jack' (Black Jack Fig) · F. carica 'Black Mission' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Brown Turkey' (Brown Turkey Fig) · F. carica 'Calimyrna' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Celeste' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Desert King' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Italian Honey' (Fig) · F. carica 'Kadota' (Fig Tree) · F. carica 'Lsu Purple' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Magnolia' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Mission' (Mission Fig) · F. carica 'Osborn's Prolific' (Osborn's Prolific Fig) · F. carica 'Peter's Honey' (Peter's Honey Fig) · F. carica 'Petite Negra' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Verte' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Violette Du Bordeaux' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'Violette Normande' (Common Fig) · F. carica 'White Adriatic' (Common Fig) · F. castellviana (Figueira-De-Rond) · F. catappifolia (Falsa-Catapa) · F. citrifolia (Shortleaf Fig) · F. clusiifolia (Red-Fig Tree) · F. communis (Atlantic Figsnail) · F. congesta (Red Leaf Fig) · F. cordata (Namaqua Fig Tree) · F. cordata salicifolia (Wonderboom Fig (South Africa)) · F. coronata (Sandpaper Fig) · F. cotinifolia (Strangler Fig) · F. craterostoma (Forest Fig) · F. cyclophylla (Gameleira-Grande) · F. dammaropsis (Dinner Plate Fig) · F. deltoidea (Delta Fig) · F. dendrocida (Mata-Pau) · F. destruens (Rusty Fig) · F. drupacea (Brown-Woolly Fig) · F. drupacea var. pubescens (Fig) · F. elastica (Indian Rubberplant) · F. elastica 'Variegata' (Rubber Tree) · F. elastica var. Burgundy (Rubber Tree) · F. elastica 'Decora' (Rubber Tree) · F. elastica 'Honduras' (Rubber Plant) · F. elastica 'Sylvia' (Rubber Tree) · F. erecta (Inu-Biwa) · F. fraseri (Sandpaper Fig) · F. geniculata (Dotted Fig) · F. glumosa (Mountain Rock Fig) · F. gnaphalocarpa (Quicuio) · F. godeffroyi (Fig) · F. greiffiana (Figueira-De-Greif) · F. hirsuta (Molemb) · F. hispida (Boombil) · F. infectoria (White-Fruited Wavy Leaf Fig Tree) · F. ingens (Red-Leaved Rock Fig) · F. insipida (Red Fig (Belize)) · F. krukovii (Figueira-De-Krukoff) · F. lacor (Java Fig) · F. luschnathiana (Agarrapalo) · F. lutea (Big Leaved Fig) · F. lyrata (Fiddle Fig) · F. maclellandii (Alii Bush) · F. maclellandii 'Alii' (Banana-Leaf Ficus) · F. macrocarpa (Moreton Bay Fig) · F. macrophylla (Moreton Bay Fig) · F. macrophylla columnaris (Lord Howe Island Banyan) · F. malacocarpa (Cumacabali) · F. matiziana (Figueria-De-Matiz) · F. mexiae (Figueira-De-Mexia) · F. microcarpa var. crassifolia 'Green Mound' (Ficus) · F. microcarpa 'Green Island' (Dwarf Ficus) · F. microcarpa 'Hawaii' (Chinese Banyan)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Notes

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Contributors

Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 24, 2007:

Identifiers

Footnotes

  1. Zhengyi Wu, Zhe-Kun Zhou & Michael G. Gilbert "Moraceae". in Flora of China Vol. 5 Page 21. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
  2. "Ficus". in Flora of North America Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
  3. "Ficus religiosa". in Flora of North America Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-04-22