September 4, 2010

Today topic of discussion: the Banyan tree, a nuisance or godsend?  Before you spit out your lunch and turn off your computer, consider how interesting these trees are.  Banyan is a generic term for fig trees that germinate and grow in other trees.  Eventually the Banyan grows and engulfs its host.  In other words, these guys don’t need nutrients from the soil to grow. They can grow in the treetops, all the while stealing nutrients from their host. There are numerous species of Banyan,  many of which share some distinctive characteristics, such as aerial roots that grow from limbs and extend down to the ground.  These aerial roots lignify as they grow toward the ground, giving older Banyans a labyrinthine look.  Banyans don’t just germinate in other trees, wait, here’s one growing in a crack on the outside wall of Surfing Hainan (the smaller bright green one on the right.)

 

banyanonwall

It’s easy to imagine how these trees have become a threat to delicate ecosystems.  On the other hand, Banyans make excellent street trees for their shelter and shade.  They’re one of the predominant street trees here in Sanya and many warm cities around the world.  When I die I’d like to be buried with my priceless gold-tipped cane under the aerial roots of a Banyan.  This way my corpse will be strangled by the Banyan roots and eventually absorbed into the tree.

banyanchilling

No surf lately but a stream of curious customers wandering into the shop.  Yesterday I was paddling around in Dadong Hai when a vacationer from Sichuan swam over on his bodyboard to ask about the 10′ Santa Cruz board I was on.  My Mandarin’s not great, but I think I got my message across.  Learning to stand on a longboard is easy, and we’ll teach you here at Surfing Hainan.

PM Update: Longboard waves this afternoon, we had fun.