Posted on: 8 May 2013

Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) growing on a lakeside.

Coloured etching by B. Pouncy, c. 1793, after W. Hodges.
1793 By: William Hodges after: Benjamin Thomas Pouncy and Warren Hastings
Published: Thos. Palser,[London] (Surry Side Westminster Bridge) : [1793]

Credit: Wellcome Library, London

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" Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose The fig-tree; not that kind for fruit renowned But such as at this day, to Indians known In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms Branching so broad and long, that in the ground The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow About the mother tree, a pillared shade High over-arched, and echoing walks between: There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herd." - Paradise Lost, John Milton