Banyan, a tree of India, noted for its rooting branches. A single banyan tree may cover an area nearly 1,500 feet (460 m) in circumference and have more than 3,000 trunklike roots. Banyan seeds are brought by birds to the branches of other trees. The seeds sprout on branches of the host trees. As a banyan tree grows, it sends out prop roots, resembling trunks, that descend to the ground and take food from the soil. The host tree and others nearby become smothered and die.
The word banyan comes from the Hindi, meaning "trader." The trees receive their name from the fact that markets are held under their sheltering branches. The banyan is a sacred tree in India.
The banyan is Ficus bengalensis of the mulberry family, Moraceae.