Sacred fig


Sacred fig

Taxobox
name = Sacred Fig



image_width = 240px
image_caption = Leaves and trunk of a Sacred Fig. Note the distinctive leaf shape.
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Rosales
familia = Moraceae
genus = "Ficus"
species = "F. religiosa"
binomial = "Ficus religiosa"
binomial_authority = L.

The Sacred Fig ("Ficus religiosa") or Bo-Tree (from the Sinhala "bo") ["Oxford English Dictionary", Oxford University Press, 1971, p.1014] is a species of banyan fig native to Sri Lanka, Nepal and India, southwest China and Indochina east to Vietnam. It is known by a wide range of local names, such as "Bo" or "pou" , bawdi or bawdi nyaung in Burmese language, Bodhi (โพธิ์) (in Thai Language, though pronounced "Po"), "Pipal" ("peepal, peepul, pippala, pimpal", etc.), "arali" or "Ashvastha" tree. It is a large dry season-deciduous or semi-evergreen tree up to 30 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 3 m.

The leaves are in shape with a distinctive extended tip; they are 10-17cm long and 8-12cm broad, with a 6-10cm petiole. The fruit is a small fig 1-1.5cm diameter, green ripening purple.

The Bodhi tree and the Sri Maha Bodhi propagated from it are famous specimens of Sacred Fig. The known planting date of the latter, 288 BC, gives it the oldest verified age for any angiosperm plant.

This plant is considered sacred by the followers of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, and hence the name 'Sacred Fig' was given to it. Siddhartha Gautama is referred to have been sitting underneath a Bo-Tree when he was enlightened (Bodhi), or "awakened" (Buddha). Thus, the Bo-Tree is well-known symbol for happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck. Today in India, Hindu Sadhus still meditate below this tree, and in Theravada Buddhist Southeast Asia, the tree's massive trunk is often the site of Buddhist and animist shrines.

Plaksa

Plaksa is a possible Sanskrit term for the Sacred fig. According to Macdonell and Keith (1912), it rather denotes the Wavy-leaved Fig tree ("Ficus infectoria").

In Hindu texts, the Plaksa tree is associated with the source of the [Sarasvati Radhakrishna, B.P. and Merh, S.S. (editors): Vedic Sarasvati, 1999, p.35-44 ]

Plaksa Pra-sravana denotes the place where the Sarasvati appears. [Pancavimsa Brahmana, Jaiminiya Upanisad Brahmana, Katyayana Srauta Sutra, Latyayana Srauta; Macdonell and Keith 1912] In the Srauta Sutra, Sankhayana Srauta Sutra; Macdonell and Keith 1912, II:55]

Notes

ee also

*Sri Maha Bodhi
*Sitala

References

*Keith and Macdonell. 1912. Vedic Index of Names and Subjects.
* [http://iu.ff.cuni.cz/pandanus/database/details.php?plantno=400094&enc=utf&sort=ka&display=50&reswind=this&lat=&skt=on&pkt=&tam=&start=0 Plaksa description]

External links

* [http://iu.ff.cuni.cz/pandanus/database/details.php?plantno=800009&enc=utf&sort=ka&display=50&reswind=this&lat=&skt=on&pkt=&tam=&start=0 Sacred fig description]
* [http://www.thecolorsofindia.com/peepal/benefits-and-uses.html Benefits of Peepal]
*


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