banyan tree
Photo by Emma Gossett on Unsplash

The banyan, Ficus benghalensis, is native to the Indian subcontinent and is India's national tree.

Banyan trees have some of the widest canopy coverage on Earth. The fruits that the tree produces are eaten by different animals, especially birds. The largest Banyan tree in the world is located inside the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden in the state of West Bengal. It is estimated to be over 250 years and was referenced in some 19th century travel books. The Great Banyan takes up around 4 acres of land and continues to grow every year. Seen from a distance, the tree looks like a small forest. However, what looks like individual trees are really the aerial roots, which are estimated to number around 3,000. A road was built around the tree so that tourists could drive around the tree and the tree has now expanded beyond the road, creating a shaded tunnel for drivers.