Definition of bo tree in US English:

bo tree

(also bodhi tree)


  • A fig tree native to India and Southeast Asia, regarded as sacred by Buddhists.

    Ficus religiosa, family Moraceae

    Also called peepul
    • ‘Until early in the 20th century many old mosques had ancient bo trees (ficus religiosa) next to them indicating that the sites were once occupied by Buddhist temples.’
    • ‘Of the fig species Figus Religiosa the ‘bo tree’ is held sacred and there is normally one growing in or near every temple compound.’
    • ‘First they offer fragrant flowers (lotus lily and frangipani) at the different Buddhas, then they offer tiny clay lamps burning with coconut oil and finally they chant their thanksgiving quietly under the bo tree.’
    • ‘Theravada Buddhism (one of two types of Buddhism) was introduced to Sri Lanka in the third century B.C. from India, when a branch of the sacred bo tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment was brought to the island.’
    • ‘Sometimes police sentries have been placed to protect bo trees from popular vandalism.’


Mid 19th century: representing Sinhalese bōgaha ‘tree of knowledge’ (Buddha's enlightenment having occurred beneath such a tree), from bō (from Sanskrit budh ‘understand thoroughly’) + gaha ‘tree’.


bo tree

/ˈbō ˌtrē/