Species, Botanical Information and Characteristics of the Bodhi tree
The Bodhi tree’s cultural and spiritual significance has led to its preservation and cultivation at various Buddhist sites and temples, where it continues to symbolize the momentous event of Siddhartha Gautama’s enlightenment.
- Family: Moraceae (Mulberry family)
- Genus: Ficus
- Species: religiosa
- Leaves: The leaves of Ficus religiosa, including the Bodhi tree, are heart-shaped and often have a long pointed tip. They can measure around 10 to 17 centimeters in length and are typically glossy green on the upper surface with a paler underside. The veins are prominent and radiate from the central midrib.
- Bark: The bark of the Bodhi tree is usually pale gray and becomes rougher and darker as the tree matures. It has a tendency to shed in patches, revealing the lighter bark underneath.
- Fruits: The fruit of Ficus religiosa is small and fig-like, starting green and maturing to a purplish color. It’s not typically consumed by humans but is an essential food source for birds and animals.
- Growth Habit: The Bodhi tree can grow to be quite large, with a spreading canopy that provides ample shade. It often features an aerial root system, which is a distinctive characteristic of many fig trees.
- Habitat: The Bodhi tree is native to the Indian subcontinent and is found in various habitats, including plains, hills, and areas near water bodies.
The Bodhi tree holds profound cultural and religious importance, particularly in Buddhism. It’s known as the tree under which Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. The tree’s location in Bodh Gaya, India, near the Mahabodhi Temple, makes it a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists from around the world.
Propagation and Growth
Ficus religiosa, including the Bodhi tree, can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. It thrives in well-drained soil and requires plenty of sunlight. The tree’s growth can be rapid under favorable conditions, and its aerial roots can help it establish in various environments. Once established, it’s often considered low-maintenance.
Resumed in a table
|Leaves||Heart-shaped, 10-17 cm in length, glossy green on upper surface, paler underside|
|Bark||Pale gray, rougher and darker with age, sheds in patches|
|Fruits||Small fig-like, green maturing to purplish|
|Growth Habit||Large, spreading canopy with aerial root system|
|Habitat||Native to Indian subcontinent, found in various habitats|
|Cultural Significance||Sacred symbol in Buddhism, especially the tree where Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment|
|Propagation and Growth|
|Propagation||Seeds or cuttings|
|Soil and Sunlight||Well-drained soil, plenty of sunlight|
|Growth Rate||Rapid under favorable conditions|
|Maintenance||Considered low-maintenance once established|
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