|Etymology||Genus||From the Latin name for the fig (Ficus species)|
|Species||Sacred; this is a plant revered by Buddhists|
|Synonyms||Ficus superstitiosa Link|
|Common Names||Bodhi Tree, Sacred Fig, Peepul Tree|
|Form||Tree or Strangler|
Ficus religiosa can exist as a variety of growth forms; a lone tree by itself; an epiphyte on another tree which will eventually grow its aerial roots and strangle its host (hence the name strangler fig for such Ficus species); or a small woody shrub growing out from concrete cracks from the ground or buildings.
The Bodhi Tree is revered by Buddhists and Hindus (Tan & Giam, 2008). This is the tree where Siddharta Gautama, the Buddha sat under when he gained enlightment in Bodhgaya, India. A cutting from this particular tree was planted in Anuradhapura, a city in Sri Lanka. The one in our Kong Meng San Monastery (the largest Buddhist temple in Singapore) is thus a third generation clone from the original tree (see picture below).
The Bodhi Tree is also associated with many Hindu deities (Tan & Giam, 2008). It is regarded as a symbol of the male, while Azadirachta indica, another tree that can be found locally, represents the female.
Form of a Bodhi tree in Bidadari Cemetery.
It is a common sight to find it growing out of concrete cracks.
Leaves are very distinct: long drip tip, heart-shaped, whitish veins.
Ripening figs that will eventually turn purple.
Sign under the Bodhi Tree planted in Kong Meng San Monastery.