- Scientific name: Ficus religiosa
- Family: Moraceae
- Also know as: Bodhi tree
Deciduous or semi-deciduous tree up to 8m tall. Can be epiphytic when young, potentially strangling host trees. Branches widely spreading, slender twigs. Leaves up to 17cm long, extended drip tips (acumens), heart-shaped (cordate) at base. Flowers on the same plant are either male or female (monoecious). Fruits composed of fruitlets enclosed in a receptacle (synconium). Figs axillary on twigs, paired, without stalk (sessile), almost spherical, green to purple with scarlet flecks. Pollinated by fig wasps.
- This plant is sacred to Buddhists and Hindus as the Buddha himself was thought to have sat under one when he received enlightenment (bodhi).
- The oldest plant in the world of known planting date is the bo tree called Sri Maha Bodhi planted at the temple at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, in 288 BC.
Where it grows
The bo tree is native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, south-west China and Indochina.
Figs are primarily pollinated by fig wasps, which enter the flower through the hole at the base of the fruiting structure.
- Axillary: joined where leaf stalk meets stem.
- Epiphytic: grows on other plants.