Ficus benghalensis

Banyan tree

Nonnative to Florida

Species Overview

Native to: India and the sub-Himalayan region

Banyan tree has a fascinating life history. Its seeds are dispersed within the forest canopy by birds and other tree-dwelling animals. There they germinate and begin as an epiphyte which sends down roots, enveloping and eventually killing the host tree. It has been distributed throughout tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world via cultivation and escaped into natural areas. While not currently widespread or problematic in Florida, it has been listed as invasive in other tropical regions.

Species Characteristics

Family: Moraceae

Habit: Large evergreen tree with a massive fluted trunk.

Leaves: Have a stout, (1.5-) 2-6 (-8) cm long, ventrally compressed hairy petiole. Blades are coriaceous, ovate or obovate to elliptic, (8-) 10-20 (-25) cm long, (6-) 8-15 (20) cm broad, glabrous above, finely pubescent beneath with apically obtuse margins.

Flowers: Male flowers pedicellate; tepals 2 or 3. Female flowers sessile; tepals 3 or 4. Gall flowers pedicellate; tepals 3 or 4.

Fruit: Figs are globose to depressed-globose, 15-2.5 cm in diameter pinkish-red, hairy.

Distribution in Florida: Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties.


The Banyan tree is fast growing and kills its host tree. The root system can damage infrastructure. It can also germinate on fenceposts and buildings causing structural damage.

Control Methods

Preventive Measures



Difficult due to epiphytic early growth habit.


Difficult due to epiphytic early growth habit.


None known.


Sensitive to triclopyr herbicides as a basal or cut-stump treatment. Consult your local UF IFAS Extension Office for management recommendations.

Learn more about this species

UF IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas

Atlas of Florida Plants

USDA Plant Database

Invasive Species Compendium