Sacred fig

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Sacred fig
Ficus religiosa Bo.jpg
Leaves and trunk, showing the distinctive heart-shaped leaf
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus
Species:
F. religiosa
Binomial name
Ficus religiosa
L. 1753 not Forssk. 1775

Ficus religiosa or the sacred fig is a species of fig on the Indian subcontinent and Indochina.[1] It belongs to Moraceae, the fig or mulberry family. It is also known as the bodhi tree,[2] pippala tree, peepul tree,[1] peepal tree or ashwattha tree (in India and Nepal).[3]

The sacred fig is considered to have a religious significance in three major religions of the Indian subcontinent: Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. It is the type of tree under which Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. Hindu and Jain ascetics also consider the tree to be sacred and often meditate under them.

It begins life as an epiphyte, and eventually surrounds and outlives its host tree.[4] The kind of growth is like dozens of vertical trunks stuck together. In the middle may be a space where the original tree of another species once grew.

Typical example of aerial roots
Flooded building and tree trunk in the muddy water of the Mekong in Si Phan Don, Laos, September 2019.jpg

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Peepul" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 45.
  2. Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 1014
  3. "Ficus religiosa — Peepal". Flowers of India. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  4. Stephen Forbes 2016. The oldest historical tree in the world. medium.com. Medium. Retrieved 23 July 2018. [1]