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The leaves of the banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy green and elliptical in shape. Like most fig-trees, the leaf bud is covered by two large scales. As the leaf develops the scales fall. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge. Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots that grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. The original support tree can sometimes die, so that the banyan becomes a "columnar tree" with a hollow central core. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area.
They can be found in India where it is the countries national tree. Cambodia, Australia are natural habitat. The tree has been planted in the U.S. and other countries.
This particular specimen is located in Maui, Hawaii, and was planted by William Owen Smith in 1873 in Lahaina's Courthouse Square. It has grown to cover two-thirds of an acre. This tree is an amazing sight to see.