The Indomitable Spirit of Banyan

The banyan is an amazing tree. It often starts out as a tiny fruit seed dropped by bird onto another tree. There, in a crack it germinates and lets down a weak thin root till it reaches the ground, then another and another. The aerial roots get thicker and thicker until they totally cover the trunk of the host tree. Once strong and established the banyan starts to spread sideways, often creating a huge canopy with hundreds of aerial roots. The intricate and complex root patterns show incredible tenacity and strength, clinging to every nook and cranny, even on sheer rock, and sucking up moisture and nutrients where none seems to exist.

An Indian legend tells of a proud ruler, who cut down a large banyan tree and covered the stump with heavy iron plates to show his authority. By the next morning the tree had burst through the metal and was on the way to its former glory. No wonder then, that Hindus, as well as Buddhists regard the banyan as sacred and as a symbol for immortality.

In the southern Taiwan city of Tainan is an old colonial era building, the ruins of which have been completely enveloped by a huge banyan, thereby creating a fascinating, abstract living sculpture. Today it is called the Anping Tree House.


banyan02_smbanyan01_smThe above three images show details from the Anping Tree House



This huge banyan tree at the Dongshan highway rest stop is said to be more than 100 years old.

Aerial roots cling to hard and jagged coral rock with incredible strength.
Like the tentacles of a giant octopus these banyan roots tighten their grip on this stone and concrete wall.
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3 Responses to The Indomitable Spirit of Banyan

  1. Pingback: Abstract (Epitaph) | What's (in) the picture?

  2. Pingback: Tenacious Roots Textures | Shi Yali Photography

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