Island Eastern Corridor
The Island Eastern Corridor is an expressway built along the northeastern shore of Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong. It ends in Chai Wan in the east, it is part of Route 4. The section between Causeway Bay and Quarry Bay consists of viaducts built along Victoria Harbour. After World War II, the Eastern District of Hong Kong Island developed rapidly; as a result, the major thoroughfare in the area, King's Road, became congested. To relieve the issue of congestion, the idea of constructing an elevated vehicular corridor in the Eastern District was brought out in 1968, as part of the Hong Kong Long Term Road Study; the original plan was to construct an elevated dual carriageway above King's Road, which continues eastward as a ground-level road along the coastline between Sai Wan Ho and Chai Wan. Such an alignment along King's Road was discarded in favour of a waterfront viaduct running parallel to King's Road, it was not until 8 April 1981, 20 May 1982 and 5 August 1986 that construction commenced on the three sections of the corridor, respectively.
The corridor was opened in three phases: Causeway Bay to Taikoo Shing on 8 June 1984. Work has been done to the expressway several times over its life, including the bridge diversions at Quarry Bay, completed in 2003, where Route 4 joins with Route 2. There is a proposed extension of the Corridor into the hills of Chai Wan and Siu Sai Wan; the section of viaduct near City Garden has been rebuilt and expanded so that it could become the eastern terminus of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass. In 2008 the Island Eastern Corridor became the new venue of the Hong Kong Marathon 10km race, held on 2008-02-17; the race track started from City Garden in North Point, ran eastwards until Shau Kei Wan, where it made a U-turn, back along westbound IEC and ended at Victoria Park, near the western terminus of the IEC. The noise problem caused by the IEC's design became evident as residents complained about noises as high as 60dB emitting at about five to six o'clock in the morning. In February 2008 the Government announced that it will construct a waterfront promenade between Causeway Bay and Sai Wan Ho, with significant sections at North Point running under Island Eastern Corridor, using floating boards.
However, the Government is concerned about the plan violating the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, since the boards may need to extend seabound due to the lack of space. Further study will take place regarding the feasibility of the project; when it is finished, a continuous promenade will be formed between Central and Sai Wan Ho, together with recreational land use projects related to the Central-Wan Chai Bypass. The corridor starts at Causeway Bay as a viaduct, where it joins Victoria Park Road and Gloucester Road with a ramp, it heads east along the coast of North Point, still a viaduct until it comes to Quarry Bay where it descends onto ground level, interchanges with the approach road of Eastern Harbour Crossing. After passing Taikoo Shing, the corridor becomes a viaduct again, now crossing between Sai Wan Ho and Aldrich Bay, making a broad curve toward the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, where it returns to ground level and runs past A Kung Ngam and Heng Fa Chuen all the way towards Chai Wan.
It ends near Chai Wan Park, at a large roundabout with Chai Wan Road and Wan Tsui Road in Chai Wan, just next to MTR Chai Wan Station. The full length of the corridor, save for a small section in Chai Wan between its eastern terminus and Wing Tai Road, is a statutorily-designated expressway. Speed limit for the expressway portion of IEC is 70 km/h, it is criticised for using up the seafront which could have been enjoyed by residents of Hong Kong had alternative alignments been chosen. Residents have complained about traffic noises owing to some sections' proximity to residential buildings, it could be advised that there would have to be sound barriers installed along this section, it has been suggested that the Watson Road – Tin Chiu Street section of the corridor be replaced with a tunnel, but was never considered due to the complex nature of the necessary works. The bus companies in Hong Kong operate a number of "express" bus routes that travel on the Island Eastern Corridor. Examples are: KMB 619 Shun Lee<->Sheung Wan Hong Kong Macau Ferry 681 Ma On Shan Town Centre <-> Central 307 Tai Po Central <-> Central Ferry Piers 118 Cheung Sha Wan Sham Mong Road <-> Siu Sai Wan Island Resort New World First Bus 2X Wan Chai Ferry Pier <-> Aldrich Bay 8 Wan Chai Ferry Pier <-> Heng Fa Chuen 8P Wan Chai Ferry Pier <-> Siu Sai Wan 82X Quarry Bay <-> Siu Sai Wan 720 Central <-> Aldrich Bay 720A Aldrich Bay <-> Admiralty 720P Central <-> Taikoo Shing 722 Yiu Tung Estate <-> Central Citybus 8X Happy Valley <-> Siu Sai Wan 19 Happy Valley <-> Siu Sai Wan 780 Chai Wan <-> Central 788 Central <-> Siu Sai Wan 789 Siu Sai Wan <-> Admiralty The junctions along the corridor are as follows: List of expressways in Hong Kong Google Maps of Island Eastern Corridor
Public housing estates in Shau Kei Wan
The following is a list of public housing estates in Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong, including Home Ownership Scheme, Private Sector Participation Scheme, Sandwich Class Housing Scheme, Flat-for-Sale Scheme, Tenants Purchase Scheme estates. Aldrich Garden is a Home Ownership Scheme and a Private Sector Participation Scheme estate in the reclaimed land of Aldrich Bay, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong, it was completed in 2001, which consists of 10 residential buildings that offer a total of 2,972 flats. Gross Floor Area and Saleable Area ranging from 46 to 71 square metres and 40 to 55 square metres respectively. Hing Tung Estate is located in a former squatter areas at a hill in Southwest Shau Kei Wan, the estate consists of 3 rental buildings and 1 HOS building, Tung Lam Court, a Housing for Senior Citizens, they were completed in 1997 respectively. Hong Tung Estate was built on reclaimed land of the north of Island Eastern Corridor and near Lei King Wan and Tsui Woo Terrance, Tai Koo Shing; the estate has 1 residential building with about 500 flats.
Some of the flats are offered to senior citizen tenants. Oi Tung Estate was built on reclaimed land of Aldrich Bay, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong, with Tung Yuk Court and Aldrich Garden, two Home Ownership Scheme courts, it consists of 6 residential blocks completed. Yiu Tung Estate was constructed in a former squatter areas at a hill in Southwest Shau Kei Wan, the estate consists of 11 residential buildings built in 1994 and 1995 respectively; the Yiu Tung Public Library is located within the estate. Ming Wah Dai Ha comprises 13 residential blocks completed between 1962 and 1978, it is the oldest existing public housing estate developed by the Hong Kong Housing Society. It was named for one of the founders of Hong Kong Housing Society. Block A was redeveloped in 1978 and it was the only building to be redeveloped in the estate, it was re-developed again in 2013. Notable residents include Aaron Kwok. Tung Chun Court is a Home Ownership Scheme court in a former squatter areas at a hill in Southwest Shau Kei Wan, near Yiu Tung Estate.
It has two blocks completed in 1994. Tung Hei Court is a Home Ownership Scheme court in Shau Kei Wan, near Hing Tung Estate, it has 4 residential towers providing 2,432 domestic units, which were completed in 1995. Tung Lam Court is a Home Ownership Scheme court in Shau Kei Wan near Hing Tung Estate; the site of squatter areas, the court has one block completed in 1997. Tung Shing Court is a Home Ownership Scheme court in a former squatter areas at a hill in Southwest Shau Kei Wan, near Yiu Tung Estate, it has one block completed in 2000. Tung Tao Court is a Home Ownership Scheme court on the waterfront of the reclaimed land of Aldrich Bay in Shau Kei Wan, it comprised 5 concord towers completed in 2005. Four of them are HOS blocks and were sold to public through the Sale of Surplus HOS Flats Phase 3 and 4 in 2008. One of them is public rental housing block, it was reassigned to nearby Oi Tung Estate and renamed as "Oi Po House". Tung Yan Court is a Home Ownership Scheme court in Shau Kei Wan; the site of squatter areas, the court consists of 2 blocks completed in 1998 and 1999.
Tung Yuk Court is a Home Ownership Scheme court on the waterfront of the reclaimed land of Aldrich Bay in Shau Kei Wan. It comprises 5 concord towers with 1600 flats completed in 2001, many units have full sea views over the harbour and Lei Yue Mun. Public housing in Hong Kong List of public housing estates in Hong Kong
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, vines and hemiepiphytes in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone; the common fig is a temperate species native to southwest Asia and the Mediterranean region, cultivated from ancient times for its fruit referred to as figs. The fruit of most other species are edible though they are of only local economic importance or eaten as bushfood. However, they are important food resources for wildlife. Figs are of considerable cultural importance throughout the tropics, both as objects of worship and for their many practical uses. Ficus is a pan-tropical genus of trees and vines occupying a wide variety of ecological niches. Fig species are characterized by their unique inflorescence and distinctive pollination syndrome, which utilizes wasp species belonging to the family Agaonidae for pollination; the specific identification of many of the species can be difficult, but figs as a group are easy to recognize.
Many have aerial roots and a distinctive shape or habit, their fruits distinguish them from other plants. The fig fruit is an enclosed inflorescence, sometimes referred to as a syconium, an urn-like structure lined on the inside with the fig's tiny flowers; the unique fig pollination system, involving tiny specific wasps, known as fig wasps that enter via ostiole these sub-closed inflorescences to both pollinate and lay their own eggs, has been a constant source of inspiration and wonder to biologists. There are three vegetative traits that together are unique to figs. All figs possess some in copious quantities. There are no unambiguous older fossils of Ficus. However, current molecular clock estimates indicate that Ficus is a ancient genus being at least 60 million years old, as old as 80 million years; the main radiation of extant species, may have taken place more between 20 and 40 million years ago. Some better-known species that represent the diversity of the genus include the common fig, a small temperate deciduous tree whose fingered fig leaf is well known in art and iconography.
Moreover, figs with different plant habits have undergone adaptive radiation in different biogeographic regions, leading to high levels of alpha diversity. In the tropics, it is quite common to find that Ficus is the most species-rich plant genus in a particular forest. In Asia as many as 70 or more species can co-exist. Ficus species richness declines with an increase in latitude in both hemispheres. Figs are keystone species in many tropical forest ecosystems, their fruit are a key resource for some frugivores including fruit bats, primates including: capuchin monkeys, langurs and mangabeys. They are more important for birds such as Asian barbets, hornbills, fig-parrots and bulbuls, which may entirely subsist on figs when these are in plenty. Many Lepidoptera caterpillars feed on fig leaves, for example several Euploea species, the plain tiger, the giant swallowtail, the brown awl, Chrysodeixis eriosoma and Copromorphidae moths; the citrus long-horned beetle, for example, has larvae that feed on wood, including that of fig trees.
The sweet potato whitefly is found as a pest on figs grown as potted plants and is spread through the export of these plants to other localities. For a list of other diseases common to fig trees, see List of foliage plant diseases; the wood of fig trees is soft and the latex precludes its use for many purposes. It was used to make mummy caskets in Ancient Egypt. Certain fig species are traditionally used in Mesoamerica to produce papel amate. Mutuba is used to produce barkcloth in Uganda. Pou leaves' shape inspired one of the standard kbach rachana, decorative elements in Cambodian architecture. Indian banyan and the Indian rubber plant, as well as other species, have use in herbalism. Figs have figured prominently in some human cultures. There is evidence that figs the common fig and sycamore fig, were among the first – if not the first – plant species that were deliberately bred for agriculture in the Middle East, starting more than 11,000 years ago. Nine subfossil F. carica figs dated to about 9400–9200 BCE were found in the early Neolithic village Gilgal I.
These were a parthenogenetic type and thus an early cultivar. This find predates the first known cultivation of grain in the Middle East by many hundreds of years; the 1889 book'The Useful Native Plants of Australia’ records that Ficus aspera had the common names "Rough-leaved Fi
The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China – known as the Great Ming Empire – for 276 years following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng, regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1683; the Hongwu Emperor attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities ordered in a rigid, immobile system that would guarantee and support a permanent class of soldiers for his dynasty: the empire's standing army exceeded one million troops and the navy's dockyards in Nanjing were the largest in the world. He took great care breaking the power of the court eunuchs and unrelated magnates, enfeoffing his many sons throughout China and attempting to guide these princes through the Huang-Ming Zuxun, a set of published dynastic instructions; this failed when his teenage successor, the Jianwen Emperor, attempted to curtail his uncles' power, prompting the Jingnan Campaign, an uprising that placed the Prince of Yan upon the throne as the Yongle Emperor in 1402.
The Yongle Emperor established Yan as a secondary capital and renamed it Beijing, constructed the Forbidden City, restored the Grand Canal and the primacy of the imperial examinations in official appointments. He rewarded his eunuch supporters and employed them as a counterweight against the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats. One, Zheng He, led seven enormous voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean as far as Arabia and the eastern coasts of Africa; the rise of new emperors and new factions diminished such extravagances. The imperial navy was allowed to fall into disrepair while forced labor constructed the Liaodong palisade and connected and fortified the Great Wall of China into its modern form. Wide-ranging censuses of the entire empire were conducted decennially, but the desire to avoid labor and taxes and the difficulty of storing and reviewing the enormous archives at Nanjing hampered accurate figures. Estimates for the late-Ming population vary from 160 to 200 million, but necessary revenues were squeezed out of smaller and smaller numbers of farmers as more disappeared from the official records or "donated" their lands to tax-exempt eunuchs or temples.
Haijin laws intended to protect the coasts from "Japanese" pirates instead turned many into smugglers and pirates themselves. By the 16th century, the expansion of European trade – albeit restricted to islands near Guangzhou like Macau – spread the Columbian Exchange of crops and animals into China, introducing chili peppers to Sichuan cuisine and productive corn and potatoes, which diminished famines and spurred population growth; the growth of Portuguese and Dutch trade created new demand for Chinese products and produced a massive influx of Japanese and American silver. This abundance of specie remonetized the Ming economy, whose paper money had suffered repeated hyperinflation and was no longer trusted. While traditional Confucians opposed such a prominent role for commerce and the newly rich it created, the heterodoxy introduced by Wang Yangming permitted a more accommodating attitude. Zhang Juzheng's successful reforms proved devastating when a slowdown in agriculture produced by the Little Ice Age joined changes in Japanese and Spanish policy that cut off the supply of silver now necessary for farmers to be able to pay their taxes.
Combined with crop failure and epidemic, the dynasty collapsed before the rebel leader Li Zicheng, defeated by the Manchu-led Eight Banner armies who founded the Qing dynasty. The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty ruled before the establishment of the Ming dynasty. Explanations for the demise of the Yuan include institutionalized ethnic discrimination against Han Chinese that stirred resentment and rebellion, overtaxation of areas hard-hit by inflation, massive flooding of the Yellow River as a result of the abandonment of irrigation projects. Agriculture and the economy were in shambles, rebellion broke out among the hundreds of thousands of peasants called upon to work on repairing the dykes of the Yellow River. A number of Han Chinese groups revolted, including the Red Turbans in 1351; the Red Turbans were affiliated with a Buddhist secret society. Zhu Yuanzhang was a penniless peasant and Buddhist monk who joined the Red Turbans in 1352. In 1356, Zhu's rebel force captured the city of Nanjing, which he would establish as the capital of the Ming dynasty.
With the Yuan dynasty crumbling, competing rebel groups began fighting for control of the country and thus the right to establish a new dynasty. In 1363, Zhu Yuanzhang eliminated his archrival and leader of the rebel Han faction, Chen Youliang, in the Battle of Lake Poyang, arguably the largest naval battle in history. Known for its ambitious use of fire ships, Zhu's force of 200,000 Ming sailors were able to defeat a Han rebel force over triple their size, claimed to be 650,000-strong; the victory destroyed the last opposing rebel faction, leaving Zhu Yuanzhang in uncontested control of the bountiful Yangtze River Valley and cementing his power in the south. After the dynastic head of the Red Turbans suspiciously died in 1367 while a guest of Zhu, there was no one left, remotely capable of contesting his march to the throne, he made his imperial ambitions known by sending an army toward the Yuan capital Dadu in 1368; the las
Cantonese is a variety of Chinese spoken in the city of Guangzhou and its surrounding area in Southeastern China. It is the traditional prestige variety and standard form of Yue Chinese, one of the major subgroups of Chinese. In mainland China, it is the lingua franca of the province of Guangdong and neighbouring areas such as Guangxi, it is the official language of Hong Kong and Macau. Cantonese is widely spoken amongst Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and throughout the Western world. While the term Cantonese refers to the prestige variety, it is used in a broader sense for the entire Yue subgroup of Chinese, including related but mutually unintelligible languages and dialects such as Taishanese; when Cantonese and the related Yuehai dialects are classified together, there are about 80 million total speakers. Cantonese is viewed as a vital and inseparable part of the cultural identity for its native speakers across large swaths of Southeastern China, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as in overseas communities.
Although Cantonese shares a lot of vocabulary with Mandarin, the two varieties are mutually unintelligible because of differences in pronunciation and lexicon. Sentence structure, in particular the placement of verbs, sometimes differs between the two varieties. A notable difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is; this results in the situation in which a Cantonese and a Mandarin text may look similar but are pronounced differently. In English, the term "Cantonese" can be ambiguous. Cantonese proper is the variety native to the city of Canton, the traditional English name of Guangzhou; this narrow sense may be specified as "Canton language" or "Guangzhou language". However, "Cantonese" may refer to the primary branch of Chinese that contains Cantonese proper as well as Taishanese and Gaoyang. In this article, "Cantonese" is used for Cantonese proper. Speakers called this variety "Canton speech" or "Guangzhou speech", although this term is now used outside Guangzhou. In Guangdong and Guangxi, people call it "provincial capital speech" or "plain speech".
Academically called "Canton prefecture speech". In Hong Kong and Macau, as well as among overseas Chinese communities, the language is referred to as "Guangdong speech" or "Canton Province speech", or as "Chinese". In mainland China, the term "Guangdong speech" is increasingly being used amongst both native and non-native speakers. Given the history of the development of the Yue languages and dialects during the Tang dynasty migrations to the region, in overseas Chinese communities, it is referred to as "Tang speech", given that the Cantonese people refer to themselves as "people of Tang". Due to its status as a prestige dialect among all the dialects of the Yue branch of Chinese varieties, it is called "Standard Cantonese"; the official languages of Hong Kong are English, as defined in the Hong Kong Basic Law. The Chinese language has many different varieties. Given the traditional predominance of Cantonese within Hong Kong, it is the de facto official spoken form of the Chinese language used in the Hong Kong Government and all courts and tribunals.
It is used as the medium of instruction in schools, alongside English. A similar situation exists in neighboring Macau, where Chinese is an official language alongside Portuguese; as in Hong Kong, Cantonese is the predominant spoken variety of Chinese used in everyday life and is thus the official form of Chinese used in the government. The Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong and Macau is mutually intelligible with the Cantonese spoken in the mainland city of Guangzhou, although there exist some minor differences in accent and vocabulary. Cantonese first developed around the port city of Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta region of southeastern China. Due to the city's long standing as an important cultural center, Cantonese emerged as the prestige dialect of the Yue varieties of Chinese in the Southern Song dynasty and its usage spread around most of what is now the provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi. Despite the cession of Macau to Portugal in 1557 and Hong Kong to Britain in 1842, the ethnic Chinese population of the two territories originated from the 19th and 20th century immigration from Guangzhou and surrounding areas, making Cantonese the predominant Chinese language in the territories.
On the mainland, Cantonese continued to serve as the lingua franca of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces after Mandarin was made the official language of the government by the Qing dynasty in the early 1900s. Cantonese remained a dominant and influential language in southeastern China until the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and its promotion of Standard Chinese as the sole official language of the nation throughout the last half of the 20th century, although its influence still remains strong within the region. While the Chinese government vehemently discourages the official use of all forms of Chinese except Standard Chinese, Cantonese enjoys a higher standing than other Chinese langua
A banyan spelled "banian", is a fig that begins its life as an epiphyte, i.e. a plant that grows on another plant, when its seed germinates in a crack or crevice of a host tree or edifice. "Banyan" specifically denominates Ficus benghalensis, the national tree of the Republic of India, though the name has been generalized to denominate all figs that share a common life cycle and used systematically in taxonomy to denominate the subgenus Urostigma. Like other fig species, including the common edible fig Ficus carica, banyans bear multiple fruit in structures denominated "syncarps"; the syncarp of Ficus species supplies shelter and food for fig wasps and, in turn, the trees are dependent on the fig wasps for pollination. Frugivore birds disperse the seeds of banyans; the seeds are small, because most banyans grow in woodlands, a seedling that germinates on the ground is unlikely to survive. However, many seeds fall on the branches and stems of other trees or on human edifices, when they germinate they grow roots down toward the ground and may envelop part of the host tree or edifice.
For this reason banyans bear the colloquial name "strangler fig". A number of tropical banyan species that compete for sunlight of the genus Ficus, exhibit this strangling habit; the leaves of the banyan tree are large, glossy and elliptical. Like most figs, the leaf bud is covered by two large scales; as the leaf develops the scales abscise. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge. Older banyan trees are characterized by aerial prop roots that mature into thick, woody trunks, which can become indistinguishable from the primary trunk with age. Old trees can spread laterally by using these prop roots to grow over a wide area. In some species, the prop roots develop over a considerable area that resembles a grove of trees, with every trunk connected directly or indirectly to the primary trunk; the topology of this massive root system inspired the name of the hierarchical computer network operating system "Banyan VINES". In a banyan that envelops its host tree, the mesh of roots growing around the latter applies considerable pressure to and kills it.
Such an enveloped, dead tree decomposes, so that the banyan becomes a "columnar tree" with a hollow, central core. In jungles, such hollows are desirable shelters to many animals. Different parts of the tree are known to be helpful in treating diseases like dysentery, diabetes, leucorrhoea and nervous disorders. Banyan trees have many different health benefits due to the many endophytes that they host in their aerial roots; these endophytes have a symbiotic relationship with the tree by providing the tree with protection from microbes, the tree in return hosts the endophytes. These endophytes help the tree by protecting them against pathogens and by helping their fitness by nitrogen fixation. In an experiment, these endophytes from the aerial roots of a banyan tree were examined to see how well they would be able to fight off certain bacteria strains that affect different plants. An ICMS approach was used to test the virulence of the endophytes against the bacteria; the results indicate that there is a broad spectrum of anti-fungal activity present in the tree's aerial roots that can be used as anti-fungal agents in other plants as well, after further development.
The banyan tree is a versatile organism, adapted to its environment. Its aerial roots help it survive in a warm and moist environment as well as provide the large tree with structural support, it has adapted to having symbiotic relationships with many organisms spanning from endophytes to humans. For example, the tree hosts the endophytes and the endophytes provide it protection from pathogens and nutrients; the tree can provide humans shelter as well as many different health-related benefits like antioxidants from its bark. The name was given to F. benghalensis and comes from India, where early travellers observed that the shade of the tree was frequented by Banyans. In the Gujarati language, banya means "grocer or merchant", not "tree"; the Portuguese picked up the word to refer to Hindu merchants, passed it along to the English as early as 1599 with the same meaning. By 1634, English writers began to tell of the banyan tree, a tree under which Hindu merchants conducted their business; the tree provided a shaded place for merchants to sell their goods.
"banyan" became the name of the tree itself. The original banyan, F. benghalensis, can grow into a giant tree covering several hectares. Over time, the name became generalized to all strangler figs of the Urostigma subgenus; the many banyan species include: Ficus microcarpa, native to Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, the Malay Archipelago, New Guinea, Ryukyu Islands and New Caledonia, is a significant invasive species elsewhere. The Central American banyan is native to Central America and northern South America, from southern Mexico south to Paraguay; the shortleaf fig is native to southern Florida, the Caribbean Islands, Central America, South America south to Paraguay. One theory is that the Portuguese name for os barbados, gave Barbados its name; the Florida strangler fig is native to southern Florida and the Caribbean Islands, distinguished from the above by its coarser leaf venation. The Moreton Bay fig and Port Jackson fig are other related species. Due to the complex structure of the roots and extensive branching, the banyan is used as a subject specimen in penjing and bonsai.