Situated just a short drive from our Hawaii condos is Lahaina Banyan Court Park. Although it is a popular gathering spot year round, many winter visitors love to go there in December. It’s that time of year when city officials decorate all of the park’s famous Indian banyan trees with holiday lights and host special, Christmas themed events. So in anticipation of that wonderful time of year, we wanted to talk briefly about the trees. Believe it or not, some of them have been growing there for far more than a century.
Legend has it that the very first one was planted in the late 1800s as a tribute to the tireless efforts of all the missionaries that met with island residents starting in 1820. The man credited with making the tribute happen was a former American missionary and Massachusetts Agricultural College graduate turned Maui sheriff. His name was William Owen Smith. Over the years, his single planting did what banyan trees do best, grow and spread out. So much so, that it is widely considered to be the largest, oldest tree of its kind in all the U.S.
This brings us to a quick look at the nature of banyan trees. Considered to be India’s national tree, it is part of the fig family, which makes it dependent on other trees and fig wasps for its survival. It also has a history of growing extremely tall and wide with multiple trunks to its credit. That’s why the tree in Lahaina Banyan Court Park currently boasts at least 16 trunks. And interestingly enough, the trees have also long been used by merchants and others as a gathering place. Obviously, it’s a practice that continues in Lahaina to this day.
To learn more about the banyan trees located within driving distance of our Hawaii condos and how you can get in on the holiday lighting fun firsthand, please contact us today.