Also called banyan tree. an East Indian fig tree, Ficus benghalensis, of the mulberry family, having branches that send out adventitious roots to the ground and sometimes cause the tree to spread over a wide area.
Also, bania, baniya.

a Hindu trader or merchant of a particular caste, the rules of which forbid eating flesh.
a loose shirt, jacket, or gown.

Historical Examples

Palms and the banyan-tree, pines almost huge enough to tip the earth over, each in turn had shaded his head.
Catholic World, Vol. XIII, April to September, 1871 Various

On one of the pillars of that Stūpa elephants are carved in the act of worshipping both the Pīpal-tree and the banyan-tree.
Buddhism, In its Connexion With Brahmanism and Hinduism, and In Its Contrast with Christianity Sir Monier Monier-Williams

She looked up at the banyan-tree in whose top branches she had heard the little souls moaning.
The Hidden Force Louis Couperus

The ascent was easy, and the summit was not above the limit of tropical vegetation, as a banyan-tree grew on the top.
Western Himalaya and Tibet Thomas Thomson

So the Deer, charmed at his reception, ate grass and drank water, and laid himself down in the shade of a banyan-tree to talk.
Hindu Literature Epiphanius Wilson

It would take the conceit out of a hurricane, I think, if it tried to blow down a banyan-tree.
A Jolly Fellowship Frank R. Stockton

A hoard of Roman gold coins of these reigns has been dug up in our own days near Calicut, under the roots of a banyan-tree.
History Of Egypt From 330 B.C. To The Present Time, Volume 11 (of 12) S. Rappoport

So thought the captain, and the others agreeing, the boat was left where they had long since concealed her—under the banyan-tree.
The Castaways Captain Mayne Reid

They talked of the banyan-tree before they went out; but now they seem to prefer a snug bungalow to field-preaching.
Henry Martyn Saint and Scholar George Smith

The prettiest is the shade of a banyan-tree, with about a hundred stems, a whole wood in itself.
The Catholic World. Volume II; Numbers 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. E. Rameur

a moraceous tree, Ficus benghalensis, of tropical India and the East Indies, having aerial roots that grow down into the soil forming additional trunks
a member of the Hindu merchant caste of N and W India
a loose-fitting shirt, jacket, or robe, worn originally in India

“Indian fig tree,” 1630s, so called in reference to a tree on the Iranian coast of the Persian Gulf under which the Hindu merchants known as banians had built a pagoda. From Sanskrit vanija “merchant.”


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