Characteristics of Wild Peepal Tree (Ficus arnottiana) in the Wild

Ficus arnottiana
The wild peepal or Indian rock fig (Ficus arnottiana) is a species of fig tree native to India, mainly in the rocky hills of the Western Ghats. This tree often has bright red to dark red leaves and the leaves often fall off.

The wild peepal tree is known by names for example in Hindi it is called Bassari, Palhi, Paras Pipal, Pilkhan, Paras Pipal, Pimpli, while in Kannada it is called Bettadaarali or Kalla Ashvattha. In Tamil it is known as Kallarasu or Kotiyarasu, and several other names such as Amakanniyan, Kal-arasu, Rock Pipal, Payar, Waved-leaved Fig Tree, are also used for this tree.

CONFUSED WITH OTHER FICUS

Wild peepal is often mistaken for the Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa). One common way to identify Ficus arnottiana from Ficus religiosa is to examine the color of the petioles and veins, which range from bright pink to red. The tips of the leaves of Ficus religiosa are tapered and elongated, in contrast to the tips of the leaves of Ficus arnottiana which are tapered but not long.

 

Characteristics of Wild Peepal Leaf

Ficus arnottiana Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/siddarthmachado

Leaves simple, spirally alternate, stipules 3-5 cm long, lateral, reddish-green, glabrous, caducous, and leave circular scars. Petiole 3-10 cm long, slender, red, unarticulated, and glabrous. Lamina 6-20 x 5-13 cm, broadly ovate, base strongly heart-shaped, apex caudate-acuminate, margins overall, slightly wavy, glabrous, coriaceous, 5-7-ribbed from the base, lateral nerves 5-8 pairs, pinnate, slender, prominent, and reticulate intercostal.

 

Characteristics of Wild Peepal Fruit

Ficus arnottiana Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/siddarthmachado

The fruit is called Syconia like all Ficus trees, grows in axillary pairs or clustered near the apex, sessile or shortly pedunculate, globose, glabrous, orifice plane. Bracts 3.1 x 2-2.5 mm, ovate, thin, and finally caducous. Syconia are yellowish-brown when ripe, 5-7 mm in diameter, and smooth.

 

Characteristics of Wild Peepal Tree

Ficus arnottiana Tree
Source: inaturalist.org

Wild peepal grows as a deciduous independent tree up to 10 meters high, has no aerial roots, with gray-brown bark, is smooth, tuberculous-lenticel, fiery pink, and has milky sap.

 

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