A large, fast growing deciduous tree that can reach up to 25 m to 35 m in height. It has a large and wide-spreading crown, with a bark that is light grey in colour. Figs are purple in colour. White latex is present in all such parts: the simple, long-stalked leaves which are heart-shaped and long tipped; and the new flush of leaves which are purple, turning fresh green, then yellowish green. The flowers are tiny and found inside the small fleshy figs, which ripen to greenish-yellow, then purple. There are three kinds of flowers: male, female and sterile.
The Bodhi Tree originated from Pakistan, Southern China, Northern Thailand to Vietnam. The figs are a food source for birds, with the seeds being distributed by them. The saplings often develop on a branch of a host tree, on old neglected buildings, crevices of walls, roadside kerbs etc. indicating that the tiny seeds are dispersed freely and germinate well. The seedlings grow very fast in Singapore when left undisturbed. So it is named, the Bodhi Tree is associated with religion and is regarded as sacred to Hindus and Buddhists. The Hindu god Vishnu was born under its shade and beneath this tree, the Buddha received his enlightenment. It is often planted in temples and other places for worship. Some of the trees grow for several centuries as recorded history reveals, evidently by means of its ability to supplement the ageing trunk with new shoots.