Nearby my apartment I’ve discovered a wonderful old banyan tree. Banyan trees send out long branches and shoots down to the ground and root; the tree gets bigger and bigger; and bigger.
It’s always interesting to see how the colonial powers modified/invented/created native words. According to Wikipedia:
In the Gujarati language, banya means “grocer or merchant”, not “tree”. The Portuguese picked up the word to refer specifically to Hindu merchants, and passed it along to the English as early as 1599 with the same meaning. By 1634, English writers began to tell of the banyan tree, a tree under which Hindu merchants conducted their business. The tree provided a shaded place for a village meeting or for merchants to sell their goods. Eventually, “banyan” became the name of the tree itself.
Enjoy these photos and a brief video of this monster of greenery, a fig species!