The Bodhi Tree or Peepal is a species of long-lived tree of the Ficus genus. This tree is known as the most famous tree because it is highly respected by the two major religions in the world, namely, Hinduism and Buddhism.
The bodhi tree is believed to be the place where the first Buddha (Gautama Buddha) attained enlightenment while meditating under the Ficus religiosa tree.
Shinto shrines are traditionally surrounded by a shinboku or “sacred tree” consisting of a himorogi “divine fence”. In Shinto ritual offerings to the “gods”, the Sakaki branches are decorated with paper ribbons to make tamagushi.
In Japan, Sakaki is written with the kanji character, which combines (ki = “tree” or “wood”) and (kami = “god” or “god”) to form the meaning of “sacred tree” or “divine tree”.
3. Baobab (Adansonia sp.)
The Baobab tree is considered to be the place where ancient spirits live, the people of Madagascar believe that the enormous tree is the place where the spirits of dead family members reside.
The people of Madagascar often give gifts of honey, wine, and ancient money as offerings placed around tree trunks with a piece of white or red cloth as their way of paying homage to their ancestors.
One of the reasons why the baobab tree is so sacred to the people of Madagascar is the fact that the baobab fruit contains anti-aging nutrients called polyphenols and is also very rich in vitamin C, fiber and calcium.
4. Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna ‘Biflora’)
Growing up alone in the remote countryside. Common Hawthorn or Glastonbury Thorn in South England is one of several famous Christian historic sites.
According to legend, after the crucifixion, Jesus’ uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, traveled with the Holy Grail (Jesus’ wooden staff) and had stopped to rest on Weararyall Hill. Here, it is said that the tree emerged from the wooden staff the next morning.
Unfortunately, the original magic tree of Jesus’ wooden staff was cut down during the English Civil War. However, several specimens from the original stock have been planted as substitutes to ensure the continuity of the sacred tree.
The sacred status of the Common Hawthorn tree is the fact that it flowers twice a year, during Easter and Christmas, which are two of the most important events in Christianity. Due to its most sacred significance to Christians and especially in England, a twig from one of the Common Hawthorn trees is cut and shipped to the royal family every winter.
5. Bael (Aegle marmelos)
Bael is considered one of the sacred trees of Hindus. Early evidence of the importance of bael appears in Shri Shuktam of the Rig Veda which honors this plant as the abode of the goddess Lakshmi, the god of wealth and prosperity.
The bael tree is also considered an incarnation of the goddess Sati. Bael trees can usually be seen near Hindu temples and their yards. It is believed that the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva, favored the bael tree because its three-leaf shape symbolizes its trident.
In the traditional practice of Hinduism and Buddhism by people of the Newar culture of Nepal, the bael tree is part of a fertility ritual for girls known as Bel Bibaaha. The girls were “married” to the bael fruit, as long as the fruit remained safe and never cracked, the girl could never become a widow, even if her human husband died. This is a ritual that guarantees a high status of widows in the Newar community compared to other women in Nepal.
6. Ashoka (Saraca asoca)
In Hinduism Ashoka is considered a sacred tree. Excluding the many local traditions associated with it, the Ashoka tree is worshiped in Chaitra, a month of the Hindu calendar.
It is also associated with Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love, who includes the Ashoka flower among the five flowers on his quiver, where Ashoka represents seductive hypnosis. Therefore, the Ashoka tree is often mentioned in classical Indian religious and romantic poetry.
Ashoka tree has at least 16 different names in Sanskrit that refer to the tree or its flowers.
7. Cadamba (Neolamarckia cadamba)
Cadamba is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana. In North India, it is associated with Krishna while in southern India it is known as “Parvati tree”.
Karam-Kadamba is a popular harvest festival, celebrated on the eleventh lunar day of the month of Bhadra. A tree branch was brought and worshiped in the yard of the house. Later in the day, the grain was given out among friends and relatives. This festive custom has been adopted by the Tulu people. Kerala and Kodagu are regional variants of this festival.
The cadamba tree is also associated with the tree god called Kadambariyamman.
In Theravada Buddhism, the cadamba tree is where Sumedha Buddha attained enlightenment.
8. Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Tulsi or Holy basil is a sacred plant for Hindus, especially the Vaishnavite sect. This plant is worshiped as an avatar of Lakshmi and is often planted in the front yards of Hindu homes or the courtyards of Hanuman temples.
The ceremony of turning on the lights every night during Kartik includes the worship of the tulsi plant. Followers of Vaishnava Vishnu are known as “those who bear tulsi round the neck”.
Tulsi Vivah is a ceremonial festival held between Prabodhini Ekadashi (11th or 12th lunar day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month Kartik) and Kartik Pournima (full moon of this month).
That is a list of sacred trees that are respected by some of the world’s major religions. Although there are still several other plants that have a religious background (such as Old Tree, Plumeria, Champaca, and Sandalwood), the eight above are the ones most believed by the people.