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THE GREATEST BANYAN TREE From pvvg swamy

April 20, 2014
THE GREAT BANYAN TREE
 The Great Banyan is a banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) located in
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose 
Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah, near Kolkata, India. 
It was the widest tree in 
the world in terms of the area of the canopy and is 
estimated to be about 200 to 250 years old. It became 
diseased after it was struck by lightning, so in 
1925 the middle  of the tree was excised 
to keep the remainder healthy;
 this has left it as a clonal colony, rather than a single tree. 
A 330 meter long road was built around its circumference,
but the tree continues to spread beyond it.
The Great Banyan tree is over 250 years old and 
in spread it is the largest known in India, perhaps in Asia. 
There is no clear history of the tree, but it is mentioned 
in some travel books of the nineteenth century. 
It was damaged by two great cyclones in 1884 and 1886, 
when some of its main branches were broken and 
exposed to the attack of a hard fungus. 
With its large number of aerial roots, The Great Banyan 
looks more like a forest than an individual tree. 
The tree now lives without its main trunk, 
which decayed and was removed in 1925.
The circumference of the original trunk was 1.7 m 
and from the ground was 15.7 m. The area 
occupied by the tree is about 14500 square meters 
(about 1.5 hectares or 4 acres). 
The present crown of the tree has a circumference of about 1 kilometre
 and the highest branch rises 
to about 25 m; it has at present 2880 aerial 
roots reaching down to the ground.
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