Saraca asoca

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Saraca asoca


Tree up to 10 m tall and 10 cm in diam., sometimes shrub or medium-sized shrub, 4.5 m tall. Leaves (l-)4-6-jugate, subsessile to shortly petioled; (petiole and) rachis (0.5-)7-15(-30) cm long. Inflorescences 1.5-12(-20) cm wide, glabrous, main branches up to c. 6 cm long, 1.5-2 mm diam.; bracts broadly ovate, ovate or obovate, 1-6 by 1 — 3.5( — 5) mm, caducous or persistent, puberulous and/or minutely ciliate on the margin; bracteoles persistent during anthesis, erect, embracing the pedicel, never spreading more than 45° from the pedicel, ovate, elliptic, or obovate, 2-7 by 1.5-4 mm, sparsely puberulous, subglabrous or glabrous except minutely ciliate on the margin; pedicels 8-18 mm, the length between bracteoles and flower (4-)7-10 mm. Flowers obscurely or not articulated near the base, subglabrous or glabrous, orange yellow, when older deep orange or orange red, fragrant during the night. Stamens (5 — )6 — 8( — 10); filaments (10-) 17-25 mm, glabrous; anthers ellipsoid or oblong, 1.5-2 mm long; staminodes 0-2. Seeds oblong-ellipsoid, sometimes slightly reniform, 2-3 by 1.25-2 cm, and 0.6-1 cm thick.


Asia-Tropical: Bangladesh (Bangladesh present); India present; Jawa (Jawa present); Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia present); Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka present); Sumatera (Sumatera present), Papua New Guinea present, west of the Irrawaddy R. present
India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Burma (west of the Irrawaddy R.). Introduced and cultivated in Malesia, specimens seen from Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, Java, Papua New Guinea.


The species is frequently planted near shrines, occasionally in gardens and villages as an ornamental. Its bark, leaves and flowers said to have medicinal properties .


It has been reported that two ovaries were found occasionally to occur in one flower (cf. Zuijderhoudt, I.e.: 423). In India Saraca asoca is often called Asoc (Hind.) and Aoka (Beng.). The species is a sacred tree for the Hindus and it is believed that Buddha was born under its shade.


Verdc. 1979 – In: Manual New Guinea Leg., Lae Bot. Bull. 88.
Miq. 1855 – In: Fl. Ind. Bat. p 1080
Backer 1911: Schoolfl. Java. p 421
Corner 1940 – In: Wayside Trees. 402.
Backer & Bakh.f 1964 – In: Fl. Java. 527.
Zuijderh. 1968: p. 422. – In: Blumea. map 3
Whitmore 1972 – In: Tree Fl. Malaya. p 269