Banyan - food

The banyan tree is not used much as a source of food, only in times of scarcity and to feed livestock and lac insects.

Livestock and lac insects

A black and white photograph of lac being scraped free from the sticks of the host tree.
Banyan is one of the host trees for the lac insect. Here, the lac is being scraped free from the sticks.

The ripe fruits of the banyan look like small figs. In India they have been eaten in times of food shortage. The leaves and young shoots are sometimes cut to be eaten as fodder crop by livestock. The banyan is a host plant of the Indian lac insect, Laccifer lacca. Lac insects are commercially important, and are grown in many parts of India to obtain resin, wax and dyes.