National Tree of India - The Great Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis)

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Oct 7, 2022, 11:22

The national tree of India is the Banyan tree, known for its distinct hanging roots and excellent medicinal properties. In India, this tree holds religious, mythical, and cultural significance. Banyan trees are commonly found right at the center of villages, where a 'panchayat' is held. The banyan tree signifies strength and unity and is therefore considered the national tree of India.

The scientific name of the Banyan tree is Ficus benghalensis, and its outwardly-growing branches are its primary identifier. Read more about the national tree of India - where it is found, its features, and the legends and myths associated with it.

National Tree of India - Overview

The banyan tree is a type of fig tree classified by its outward-growing roots. These roots are called aerial roots or adventitious prop roots. Banyan trees hold great significance in India and are also the national tree of India. Find a brief overview of banyan trees below -

National Tree of India

Tree Name

Banyan tree

Tree Type

Fig tree

Distinct Feature

Hanging roots, or aerial roots

Scientific Name

Ficus benghalensis

Indian National Tree - How Does It Grow?

Our national tree, i.e., the banyan tree, grows from adventitious prop roots. In simpler terms, it means that any banyan tree begins its life by growing on another plant. After germination, the trunk of a new banyan tree emerges from a crack or crevice on the hanging root of a grown host tree. Over time, this new tree starts developing aerial roots of its own.

Banyan trees can grow together, with several trunks supporting the roots. Together, they can cover a large area of land and make it look like it is occupied by a forest. Since it signifies unity and strength, the banyan tree is accurately considered the national tree of India.

National Tree - Features

Banyan trees have many distinctive features that make them appear very different from other trees. One of their distinct properties is their "hanging roots." Here is a list of some of their other features -

  • Starting life as an epiphyte, i.e., as a plant that grows on another host plant.
  • Aerial roots that spread outwards and not under the ground.
  • Indefinite growth.
  • Huge and glossy leaves.

National Tree - Scientific Information

This table illustrates the scientific classification, status, and dimensions of the national tree of India (banyan tree) -

Indian National Tree

Kingdom

Plantae

Division

Magnoliophyta

Class

Magnoliopsida

Order

Urticales

Family

Moraceae

Found in

Native to Indian Subcontinent

Habitat

Terrestrial

Conservation Status

Not-threatened

Type

Figs

Indian National Tree - Cultural Significance

The national tree of India, the banyan tree, holds a great cultural significance in the country. In rural India, the banyan tree is a part of the village culture. It is a site where the village panchayats take place. People also often sit under the tree’s shade to get relief from the harsh summers of the countryside. The national tree is worshipped in the hopes to receive prosperity, growth, and wealth.

Mythical and Spiritual Significance of Banyan Tree

The national tree of India has various mythical and spiritual significance. In Hinduism, the Bargad (Banyan) tree is considered pious and is called 'Ashwath Vriksha.' Here are some reasons for its mythical and spiritual significance:

  • It is considered immortal and an integral part of Indian mythology and legends.
  • It is also the symbol of the legendary 'Kalpa Vriksha' or 'Tree of Wish Fulfilment.
  • It represents eternity because of its seemingly expanding branches.
  • It is also known as the tree of God that grants wishes.
  • In ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, the banyan tree represents the Almighty and portrays longevity.
  • In addition, the tree is known to fulfill wishes and realize material benefits.

National Tree of India - Benefits

There are several benefits associated with our national tree:

  1. Its fruits are edible and nutritious and can relieve skin irritation and swelling.
  2. Its bark and leaf extracts are used to stop bleeding.
  3. Cleaning your teeth with aerial roots helps prevent gum and tooth problems. Leaf bud infusion is used to treat chronic diarrhea/dysentery.
  4. Banyan tree is known for making shellac, used as a surface abrasive and glue. It is mainly produced by lac-producing insects that inhabit the banyan tree.
  5. Its milky white sap is used to polish metals such as brass and copper.

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FAQs about India's National Tree

Q.1 Which is the national tree of India?

The banyan tree is the national tree of India. This tree is known by the scientific name of Ficus benghalensis. It is regarded for its medicinal properties and religious significance in India. The main characteristic of this tree is its hanging roots.

Q2. Why is the Banyan tree considered the national tree of India?

The banyan tree is considered the national tree of India because it has religious, mythical, and cultural significance in the country. It is considered pious in Hinduism and is even worshipped. It is also regarded as the national tree because it signifies strength and unity,

Q3. What is the scientific name of the national tree of India?

Ficus benghalensis is the scientific name of the banyan tree, which is the national tree of India. The banyan tree is a type of fig tree with adventitious prop roots or hanging roots. The Banyan Tree is called the 'Bargad' tree in Hindi and is also well-known as the Indian fig tree.

Q4. Is the Peepul tree the national tree of India?

Although the Peepul tree has cultural and religious significance, it is not the national tree of India. The Indian national tree is the Banyan tree. These trees can be found all over the country, irrespective of the climate and region.

Q5. What are the benefits of the Banyan tree?

Our national tree has several benefits such as its edible fruits that relieve skin irritation and swelling, its leaf extracts are used to stop bleeding, its white sap is used to polish metals such as brass and copper, its aerial roots can be used to clean the teeth to prevent gum and tooth problems.