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MARKER DATABASE
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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fort Myers in Lee County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis)

Planted as a sapling circa 1927

 

—Native to South Asia —

 
Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 10, 2015
1. Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) Marker
Inscription. 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Historical documents reveal the banyan was planted as a sapling on the Edison property around 1927.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 the largest banyans in the continental United States, with a canopy which covers almost one acre of land.
 
Location. 26° 38.024′ N, 81° 52.782′ W.
Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 10, 2015
2. Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) Marker
Marker is in Fort Myers, Florida, in Lee County. Marker can be reached from McGregor Boulevard south of Larchmont Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. The marker is standing next a grove of tree near the Edison Museum & Ticket Office. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers FL 33901, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Thomas Alva Edison (here, next to this marker); Mina Miller Edison (here, next to this marker); Edison Heritage Garden (here, next to this marker); Inside the Ford Home (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Edison’s “Florida Paradise” (about 300 feet away); Clara Ford’s Michigan Rose Garden (about 300 feet away); Orchid Lane and Friendship Walk (about 300 feet away); Edison Estate Restoration and Rebirth (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Fort Myers.
 
Also see . . .  Edison & Ford Winter Estates. (Submitted on October 23, 2015.)
 
Categories. Horticulture & ForestryIndustry & Commerce
 
Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 10, 2015
3. Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis)
Edison, Firestone and an assistant tap a Ficus tree ca. 1930. The white milky sap is latex that can be used to create rubber.
Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis) image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 10, 2015
4. Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis)
The banyan tree is pictured to the left, providing shade for an automobile ca 1933. To the right is the Storehouse/Garage that now serves as the ticket Office and Museum store.
<i>Banyan Tree from Bengal, India • Presented to Edison 1925 by Harvey Firestone...</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1930
5. Banyan Tree from Bengal, India • Presented to Edison 1925 by Harvey Firestone...
Thomas A. Edison Winter Home • Fort Myers, Fla.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 168 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.   5. submitted on . • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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