Saturday, February 12, 2011

Neglect results in 400 year old Banyan remaining in the landscape - Bangalore, India

The Big B among trees, News - City - Bangalore Mirror,Bangalore Mirror

No one quite knows who planted the Big Banyan tree in Kethohalli village near Tavarekere, but it is widely believed that its gnarled vertical roots have silently witnessed the city’s growth from a one-horse sleepy town to the tech city that it is.

 At first utterly neglected, the tree is now a heritage. Hundreds of tourists flock to its presence and look on in wonder as they make their way through the maze of hanging roots. Researchers delight in this open air laboratory and botanists spend hours attempting to unlock the secrets of its longevity. A variety of birds roost in its branches and its fruit also attracts packs of monkeys.

The banyan tree is perhaps the oldest of tree species in the city. Botanically known as Ficus Benghalensis, the Big Banyan tree is believed to be over 400 years old. The Savanadurga monolithic hill and the backwaters of the Manchanabele reservoir form a serene backdrop to its spreading branches and make for a good picnic spot.

“The tree, located at survey number 57/2C1, has a crown circumference of more than 250 metres,” says the senior horticulture officer at Kethohalli. “What is surprising is the growth of the tree. It does not have a main trunk, but it keeps spreading all around. On an average, the tree canopy widens a few feet every year. It currently has more than 1000 aerial roots and by itself, it’s a virtual forest,” he said.

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