Do All Trees Have Only One Trunk?

If you think a tree can have only one trunk, and that all trees grow from the ground up, then you’ve never seen a banyan tree.

The seeds of this tree, also known as the Indian fig tree, are dropped by birds into the branches of other trees, where they take root. Soon the new plant sends shoots down to the ground. These shoots take root in the soil, gradually thickening until each one forms a trunk.

Then each trunk sends more shoots into the soil to support its weight. Soon the host tree dies, strangled by the banyan’s mass of tangled trunks and branches. But the banyan lives on, supported now by its own trunks.

Some banyan trees develop as many as 300 trunks, and thousands of branches.

The biggest banyans cover an area of 2,000 square feet, big enough to shelter a whole troop of soldiers!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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