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Thursday 20 August 2015

Banyan Tree (Lahaina)

Under The Banyan.

Location: Lahaina, Hawaii, USA
Address: Courthouse Square, Front St.
Date: June 2010
Website:  lahainatown.com

  The banyan tree in Lahaina's main square was planted April 24, 1873 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Christian missionaries in Hawaii.  It came from India where the banyan tree is the national tree.  As a seedling it was only 8 feet high.  When we finally arrived in Hawaii, it was over 60 feet high and covered an entire block.  Banyan trees are sometimes called strangler trees as they usually start their life on another tree and as the banyan grows it wraps its roots around the host tree.  As a banyan grows it also puts down roots from its branches.  This is why the tree in Lahaina appears at first glance to be several trees, but indeed it is just the one.  It also explains why the tree tends to grow outwards instead of upwards.

Panoramic Banyan.

  We spent some time admiring the tree as we waited for our whale watching tour to begin.  We also enjoyed some breakfast sandwiches at the appropriately named Banyan Tree Deli & Bakery across the street.

Banyan Tree Deli & Bakery.

  As we walked along Front Street we also encountered a few characters.  There was a thinking captain in front of The Wharf Cinema Center and a Fred Flintstone in his car advertising ice cream at the Maui Swiss Cafe.

Hmm.  Which route shall we take?
Yabba Dabba Do you want some ice cream?

  The Courthouse Square where the banyan tree resides used to be the location of Lahaina Fort.  The fort was demolished and the courthouse was built well before the banyan tree arrived.  In the picture below you can still see some of the remnants of the fort behind the courthouse.

Remnants of Lahaina Fort.
Back of Courthouse.

    It is an impressive sight to see the tree that has taken over the square.  These days the tree is managed so that it does not encroach further into the courthouse or the surrounding streets.  It is still an impressive sight to see both by day or by night.  It also does a great job of providing shade and shelter from the Hawaiian sun.

Banyan by Day.
Banyan By Night.
  Finally it was time for us to head down to the harbour for our whale watching experience.  As the boat headed out to sea we looked back for one last glimpse of this impressive plant.

The Banyan Tree is in the dead center with a bit of the courthouse roof showing to the right.

Map of Our World
Banyan Tree (Lahaina)
Banyan Tree Deli & Bakery

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