Modify their structure in response to loads




Ficus macrophylla

The base of this Banyan tree in Puerto de la Cruz (Canary Islands) spreads out to form buttresses which is a strategy common in many trees to support themselves. The size and orientation of the buttress can be controlled to respond to prevailing wind direction and the loads imposed by the arrangement of branches above. The Banyan has a further adaptation enabling it to drop vertical branches that form aerial roots. These may then reach the ground or another part of the tree, grow into or fuse with it and then thicken up as a prop. The "Great Bayan" in Calcutta, India (below) has spread in this way, sending down thousands of aerial roots to cover an area greater than 120m across.

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