Characteristics of Ashoka Tree (Saraca asoca) in the Wild

Saraca asocaAshoka is a species of plant that grows in the shape of a medium-sized tree and is very important in the cultural traditions of India as well as in neighboring regions.

The real ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) is often confused with the Ixora tree (Ixora sp.), but the two have distinct differences in the physical posture of the tree and the resulting flowers.

Ashoka has the shape of a real tree where it can grow to 12-15 meters tall, while Ixora generally grows to form shrubs less than 3 meters tall.

 
Ashoka is one of the many trees that grow in the rain forest. Its original distribution is in the central region of the Deccan plateau, as well as the central part of the Western Ghat in the western coastal zone of the Indian subcontinent.

The ashoka tree is valued for its beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers. It is an upright tree with dense dark green leaves.

As a species of wild Ashoka tree, it is currently endangered and increasingly rare in its natural habitat. But isolated trees can still be found in areas such as the foothills of the central and eastern Himalayas, northern India, and on the west coast of the subcontinent near Mumbai.

ASHOKA TREE HISTORY
The Ashoka tree is considered sacred throughout the Indian subcontinent, especially in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The tree has a lot of mythology, folklore, religion, and literature in the region. The tree is also highly valued for its beautiful appearance and the color and abundance of flowers, Ashoka trees are frequently planted in the complexes and gardens of royal palaces and temples throughout India. It is believed that Shakyamuni Buddha was born under an Ashoka tree in Lumbini Park.

 

Characteristics of Ashoka Leaf

Saraca asoca Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Alka Khare

The leaves grow alternately, pinnate, contain 4-6 pairs, and about 18-20 cm in length.

 

Characteristics of Ashoka Flower

Saraca asoca Flower
Source : flickr.com/Aarti Khale

The flowers are orange or red, usually appear compact to fill the canopy of the tree.

 

Characteristics of Ashoka Fruit

Saraca asoca Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Alka Khare

The fruit is a large pod, green when young and brown when ripe. This fruit will break down on the tree and spread the seeds.

 

Characteristics of Ashoka Tree

Saraca asoca Tree
Source : tropical.theferns.info

Ashoka trees can grow up to 12 to 15 meters tall in the wild and have many branches. The tree often grows upright with shady leaves and looks shady.

Outside India and its home countries, the Ashoka tree is used as an ornamental tree. Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, Ashoka wood is used for construction and the bark is used to treat uterine infections.

 

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