Banyan Tree or Strangler Fig (Ficus)

The Banyan tree or Strangler Fig (Ficus strangulosa), twists its solid vines over a host tree until the host tree dies, and all that remains is the Banyan ‘tree’.

As it matures it puts out aerial prop roots that eventually become new Banyan trees, and can take over a sizeable section of any forest like this Banyan tree in Laos.Banyan Tree in LaosHere you can see the ‘Strangler’ Fig in the process of strangling the host tree beneath.
Banyan or Strangler Fig (Ficus) in Hoi AnAlthough Banyans are generally huge, in Vietnam someone managed to make a Banyan bonsai, probably using Ficus benjamina (another species of fig), as several species of fig have similar growth habits, twining around themselves under the right circumstances.
Bonsai Banyan or Strangler Fig (Ficus) in Hoi AnBanyan fallen into the lake in Hanoi, and not having any problem surviving.
Banyan (Ficus) near the Red Bridge in HanoiThe twisting vines sometimes look surreal.
Banyan (Ficus) in HanoiA mid-size Banyan growing in Hanoi. They can get huge in a more suitable habitat.
Banyan (Ficus) on a street in Hanoi Banyans thrive in Southeast Asia and India. While the above were all taken in Vietnam, this gold-painted tree with an altar is from Mandalay in Myanmar and may not be a Banyan but its close relative, the Bodhi Tree or Sacred Fig (Ficus religiosa). The difference is easily seen in the leaves – the Banyan has leathery oval leaves and the Bodhi more delicate heart-shaped ones.An Altar on a Banyan Tree in Mandalay Banyans roots enveloping the ruins at Angkor Wat create mystery and the feel of the jungle taking over. But I am wondering how they will control the trees as they will eventually destroy the ruins.
Banyan tree enveloping the ruins at Angkor Wat For more on this challenge: Cees Fun Foto Challenge: Leaves and Trees.

10 responses to “Banyan Tree or Strangler Fig (Ficus)

  1. For some strange reason, your second picture down reminds me of the Lloyds building in London, with all the tubey bits running down the outside. Amazing trees. Thank you.

    • Now I have to go see the Lloyds Building in London. I have tried to do paintings of this tree and never quite captured it to my satisfaction, but it is inspiring to look at and perhaps someone in London was inspired!

  2. Wow, just great pictures. Did not know that information on banyan, that how it feeds on to the host tree. In India we do have banyan trees. Some people are superstitious that ghosts live in these trees. I think its related to the scary look of branches/figs in the night. hahaha 🙂

  3. Pingback: Tangled Growth of the Banyan and Bodhi Trees | Elizabatz Gallery·

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