Historic Markers Across Florida

Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis)

Marker ID:  
Location: 2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL
County: Lee
Coordinates: N 26° 38.024    W 081° 52.781
  26.63373333    -81.87968333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis)
Planted as a sapling circa 1927
Native to South Asia

Edison, Ford, and Firestone formed the Edison Botanic Research Corporation in 1927 to find a fast-growing, natural source of rubber that could be grown in the United States. The banyan tree was one of more than 17,000 plant specimens that were tested during this project.

Ficus trees, such as the banyan, produce a fair amount of latex. However, labor costs and the tree's slow growth made this option impractical for Edison, who was looking for a plant that could be harvested several times a year.

The Banyan tree (also known as the walking tree) is native to the heart of the rubber-producing region of southern Asia, which dominated the rubber market during the 1920s and 30s.

Banyans are one of the more than 800 species within the genus Ficus. The long branches support themselves by producing aerial roots that slowly grow downward into the ground, forming pillar-like trunks. There are over 13 types of Ficus throughout the gardens of Edison Ford.

Historical documents reveal the banyan was planted as a sapling on the Edison property around 1927. It is one of the largest banyans in the continental United States, with a canopy which covers almost one acre of land.

A picture of this marker can be found on HMDB.org


More information:
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Thomas Edison - Thomas Edison
Wikipedia - Thomas Edison
History.com - Henry Ford
Wikipedia - Henry Ford