Appearance of Peepul Tree
The Peepul tree is a deciduous species belonging to the Moraceae family. It is characterized by its lofty stature, reaching heights of up to 30 meters, and its expansive canopy, providing abundant shade. The tree features a smooth gray bark that matures to a pale white as it ages. The large heart-shaped leaves, with a glossy texture and prominent veins, create a lush foliage, offering respite from the scorching sun. The leaves are shaped like hearts of human being and terminate in a long, narrowing point. They are near about 15 to 17.5 cm in length. The pendent leaves on their long trails flutter and dance even in the slightest breeze and the gentle rhythm of their tails against neighbouring leaves reproduce the rhythm of rain. The new leaves are dark red in colour and they create an extraordinarily delightful sight.
The smooth and pale-grey bark of the tree frequently unwraps in pieces and the vertical trunk becomes grooved and irregular as the tree ages. The trunk is round in shape in the young trees. The tree's strong and structured trunk and the broadly spreading branches make it indeed a gorgeous sight. The fruit of the tree named as Figs, normally grow in pairs. They cover the flowers of the tree and they are purple-blade when they acquire maturity. At first, the host tree supports the impostor, but in the end it surrenders to the pressure of the pervasive root. They do not take any food from the host tree. They only rely upon air and rain until their roots reach the ground.
Distribution of Peepul Tree
Native to the Indian subcontinent, the Peepul tree has become an integral part of its landscape. It thrives in a diverse range of habitats, including tropical and subtropical regions, and can be found across India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It flourishes in well-drained soils and can endure both arid and humid climates, making it a remarkably adaptable species.
The Peepul tree plays a vital role in maintaining ecological balance and preserving biodiversity. Its extensive root system prevents soil erosion, securing the topsoil and minimizing the risk of landslides. Furthermore, the dense foliage provides shelter to various avian species and small animals, fostering a thriving ecosystem.
While the Peepul tree is a native species in the Indian subcontinent, it has shown some invasive tendencies in other parts of the world where it has been introduced. In regions such as Hawaii, Florida, and parts of Southeast Asia, its rapid growth and aggressive root system have led to concerns about its potential impact on local ecosystems. Consequently, careful monitoring and management are essential when introducing the Peepul tree to non-native environments.
Uses of Peepul Tree
Apart from its environmental significance, the Peepul tree holds a prominent place in traditional medicine systems. Various parts of the tree, including the bark, leaves, and aerial roots, possess medicinal properties that have been utilized for centuries. The bark is known for its astringent and antimicrobial qualities, making it valuable in treating wounds and various skin disorders. Additionally, the leaves are used in the treatment of asthma, dysentery, and inflammation. . The juice that is obtained from the bark is sometimes used into making a mouthwash that is capable of alleviating toothache and also strengthens the gums. People use the juice to make birdlime as well.
Religious Significance of Peepul Tree
The Peepul tree is deeply rooted in the cultural and religious fabric of the Indian subcontinent. In Hinduism, it is considered a sacred tree and is often associated with Lord Vishnu. The Hindus also relate the tree with Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. Many ancient tales and mythological stories depict the Peepul tree as an embodiment of divine power and knowledge. The tree holds immense religious significance and is a common site for prayer and worship. Devotees often tie sacred threads or strings around its trunk, believing that their wishes will be fulfilled. According to legends, Peepul tree is considered as very sacred among the Buddhists. It is also a popular destination for meditation and spiritual retreats, as its serene surroundings and the humbling presence of the tree create an atmosphere conducive to introspection and tranquility.
It is claimed by the scientists that Peepul Tree has the longest life. Interestingly, one Peepul Tree in Sri Lanka is said to have been planted in the year 288 B.C. and it is still living and flourishing. Several religious significances are associated with Peepul tree.