Characteristics of False Ashoka Tree (Polyalthia longifolia) in the Wild

Polyalthia longifolia
False Ashoka (Polyalthia longifolia) is an evergreen tree and is usually planted for its effectiveness in reducing air pollution. The tree grows tall to form a symmetrical pyramid, with pendulous branches, with long, wavy lanceolate leaves.

The false ashoka tree is often misidentified as the Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) because of its similarity.

Many people may mistake it for a tree without branches, but in reality, the false ashoka tree has branches (but the branches are often trimmed to create a decorative appearance).

False ashoka has many names and varies from region to region, these names include Glodokan Tiang, Nettilinkam, Unboi, Debadaru, Asopalav, Ashoka, and Buddha Tree.

The tree is found growing wild in India and Sri Lanka. Currently, the false ashoka tree is introduced to many tropical countries around the world including Indonesia, the Caribbean, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago.

In the past, the false ashoka tree’s flexible, straight trunk was often used in the manufacture of sailing masts. That’s why the tree is also known as the Pole Tree, or Pole Tree.

 

Characteristics of False Ashoka Leaf

Polyalthia longifolia Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Scott Zona

The leaves are brownish green, shiny, and soft to the touch. The leaves are thin, long, and have wavy edges.

 

Characteristics of False Ashoka Flower

Polyalthia longifolia Flower
Source : sites.google.com/site/efloraofindia

The flowers are greenish-white and shaped like a star.

 

Characteristics of False Ashoka Fruit

Polyalthia longifolia Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Alka Khare

The fruit is like berries, green and appears in clusters.

 

Characteristics of False Ashoka Tree

Polyalthia longifolia Tree
Source : exportersindia.com

In the wild, the false ashoka tree can grow into a large, multi-branched tree that reaches 30-35 meters high.

Today, this tree is planted as an ornamental tree in a garden or yard. While the wood is used to make small items such as pencils, boxes, matches, etc.

 

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