Sunday, January 23, 2022

Banyan Roots

 A type of fig native to India and Southeast Asia, banyan trees are a prized novelty in the tropical regions of the US. Sometimes called strangler figs, the nickname illustrates its method of propagation; seeds germinate within the branches of a host tree and eventually kill off the host. There is something spooky about the way banyans send down roots that eventually develop into a network of trunks, like a room with way too many columns. The smooth bark and gracefully curving roots give banyans a dripping "art nouveauish" look. I have never seen an illustration of a banyan from that time period, but I'm guessing that Hector Guimard, Victor Horta and Aubrey Beardley would have been entranced by a banyan.