Distant Relatives

The more I watch the nature closely and more I go through the literature, it is becoming clear how shallow is our knowledge of the world around us which the God has created. Sometimes I become more and more confused and become awestruck when some mystery of nature becomes clear to me. As we know that living things are related to one another at some stage or other during evolution though they must have diversified at some period of time but at least some basic properties resemble.

In the months of January & February, one can notice that Pipal trees which is very sacred tree of India, copiously shed their leaves. All day the leaves fall on the ground following zigzag trajectories. The wind forces them to float and it seems that they are reluctant to fall to the ground beneath the tree. Whole ground beneath the tree becomes strewn with leaves. Within few days, the trees looks as skeletons, completely shorn of  leaves. All the other trees around them have already acquired new green leaves. But it is matter of days. The new translucent leaves burst out of the branches and the whole tree is decorated with reddish brown leaves which seem to be very beautiful. One can notice the change which the tree undergoes and it is completely covered with lush green leaves. Then many birds are seen visiting them. They are there for eating the very small rounded green fruits. If you break this fruit with slight pressure of fingers you can see that inside is just like figs.

At the same time, there are other trees, the trunks of which are covered with similar type of fruits as that of Pipal. But these fruits are very numerous, bigger and become brown red on ripening. The ground is totally covered with these fruits and there is smell of food decomposition and formation of alcohol due to fermentation. Lots of ants roam on the tree and bore into the delicate fruits to eat the fruit inside. The fruit bear uncanny resemblance to Pipal fruits.

Otherwise, the look of both these trees is completely dissimilar. Leaves are different. While Banyan tree has cordate type of leaves, the Indian Fig has lanceolate kind of leaves. But in my mind, the picture began to became clearer that may be they were related. Internet queries revealed the truth. Both are ficus genera and are commonly called figs. The botanical name of Pipal or Banyan  is Ficus religiosa and other one is Indian fig.

Ficus Lutea
Pipal or Banyan
Fruits of Banyan
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