Ficus religiosa

Ficus religiosa L.

Common Names: Bo Tree, Sacred Fig, Peepful Tree, Sacred Tree

Family: Moraceae

Habit: Ficus religiosa grows as a drought deciduous large tree to 35 m in height and up to 3 m in diameter with drooping branches and few if any aerial roots. The drooping leaves are arranged alternately, to 20 cm in length, cordate to ovate, with an entire margin, an extended aristate (drip tip) leaf apex. Where the petiole attaches to the stem there is a prominent ring on the stem formed from the dehiscent apical sheath.  The apical sheath has a slight hook at its tip known as a “cats claw”. Vegetative material produces a slightly milky latex when broken.

The highly reduced incomplete, imperfect, actinomorphic, flowers are borne entirely within a structure known as a Synconium (fig) and are fertilized by wasps. It is monoecious. Staminate flowers have a perianth of 2-6 parts and 2 anthers.  The carpellate flowers have no perianth or stamens and a single carpel. The purple berry-like “fruits” are in pairs and sessile on the stem at the base of the petioles.

Habitat: Ficus religiosa grows in Human Altered environments (yards, gardens, inside homes).

Distribution: Ficus religiosa is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and the Indochina region.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Ficus religiosa is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

Ficus religiosa is used as an ornamental tree or shrub.

It is considered a sacred tree in India to all four main religions there: Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism.