Why does the tropical Ficus
benghalensis grows in the mountains?
Pokhara is the famous "Capital of hippies" in
Nepal, Himalayas. Pokhara is located at an altitude of 827 m in a valley surrounded by high
mountains. There is a beautiful view of the Himalayan peaks from the city.
Himalayas protect the city from the north winds. Therefore, the climate in Pokhara
is quite warm and a lot of tropical plants grows in the town. One of them is this
huge banyan (Ficus benghalensis). The photo clearly shows
aerial roots growing down to the ground to become new tree trunks. There are
some new trunks in the background. They
are actually part of the same large tree in the foreground.
Ficus benghalensis has many trunks. They are part of the same large tree!
Generally, banyans grow not only in the Indian subcontinent. I myself
photographed banyans on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf (Iran). It seems, the
Iranian banyans are Persian relatives of the classic Bengali ficus. They
produce aerial roots that grow down to the ground to become new trunks.
Gradually one tree becomes a whole grove. The Persians call this plant banyan