National Tree of India: Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis)

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Dec 31, 2021, 5:34

The national tree of India is the Banyan Tree, also known as the fig tree or Ficus benghalensis, whose branches are rooted in large areas. More trunks and branches emerge from the roots.

This tree is known to have amazing medicinal and healing properties and forms the centre of the Indian village community. It is considered immortal and is an integral part of Indian mythology and legends. It is also the symbol of the legendary 'Kalpa Vriksha' or 'Tree of Wish Fulfilment. 

Anyone can find banyan trees anywhere in India, regardless of region or climate. This is one of the main reasons why the banyan tree is called the national tree of India. 

Scientific Information about the National Tree of India

This table illustrates the scientific classification, status, and dimensions of the banyan tree.

Kingdom

Plantae

Division

Magnoliophyta

Class

Magnoliopsida

Order

Urticales

Family

Moraceae

Genus

Ficus

Species

Ficus benghalensis

Found in

Native to Indian Subcontinent

Habitat

Terrestrial

Conservation Status

Not-threatened

Type

Figs

Dimensions

Height: 10-25 m; Spread: as far as 100 m

Significance of the National Tree of India – The Banyan:

  1. In Hinduism, the Bargad (Banyan) tree is considered pious and is called 'Ashwath Vriksha'. It represents eternity because of its seemingly expanding branches. 
  2. Brian Ardis describes in his novel "Hothouse" the future Earth, where a single giant banyan tree covers half of the Earth as individual trees discover the ability to connect and drop random roots. 
  3. The banyan tree is also known as the tree of God that grants wishes.
  4. The banyan tree is part of the national emblem of Indonesia. It is supposed to symbolize Indonesia's unity: a country with many forked roots.
  5. The Ta Prohm of the Angkor Wat Temples is known for its giant banyan trees that grow around and through walls. 
  6. Old banyan trees have thick roots, which grow into tree trunks and mingle with the main trunk as they age. Old trees can cover a large area using these supporting roots. 
  7. The largest banyan tree registered in the Guinness World Records is located in Kolkata, India. 
  8. Another famous banyan tree was planted in 1873 at Courthouse Square in Lahaina, Hawaii, and grew to two-thirds of an acre. 
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FAQs about India's National Tree

Q.1. Which is the national tree of India?

The national tree of India is the Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis). 

Q.2. Where are these banyan trees located in the country of India? 

Banyan trees can be found all over the country irrespective of the climate and region. 

Q.3. What are the Indian and scientific names of the national tree of India? 

The Banyan Tree is called Bargad in Hindi and is also well-known as the Indian fig tree. It is scientifically called Ficus benghalensis. 

Q.4. Why are banyan trees important to India? 

In ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, the banyan tree represents the Almighty and portrays longevity. In addition, the tree is known to fulfil wishes and realize material benefits. 

Q.5. What are the benefits and medicinal or healing properties of banyan trees? 

There are several benefits associated with the banyan 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 its aerial roots helps prevent gum and tooth problems. Leaf bud infusion is used to treat chronic diarrhoea/dysentery. 
  4. Banyan tree is known for making shellac, which is 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.