There seems to have been some confusion between this species and Saraca indica L., in the literature. Whilst this species is native to India and western Myanmar, Saraca indica (despite its name) is not found wild in India but is native further east in southeast Asia. Saraca asoca is the correct name for the plant, native to India, that is widely used in herbal medicine. It is quite likely that most of the uses mentioned under Saraca indica should instead apply to Saraca asoca[
Jonesia asoca auct.
Jonesia minor Zoll. & Moritzi
Saraca arborescens Burm.f.
Saraca asoca auct.
Saraca bijuga Prain
Saraca harmandiana Pierre
Saraca kunstleri Prain
Saraca lobbiana Baker
Saraca minor (Zoll. & Moritzi) Miq.
Saraca pierreana Craib
Saraca zollingeriana Prain.
Common Name: Asoka Tree
Saraca indica is an evergreen tree with a spreading crown; it can grow up to 24 metres tall. The bole can be 34cm in diameter[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for its edible flowers and leaves, which are eaten locally, and for its medicinal uses. This tree is one of the most important sacred trees in India, both among Hindus and Buddhists, the handsome flowers being used as temple decorations[
]. The tree is commonly grown as an ornamental[
E. Asia - Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam.
Evergreen forests, usually by streams and on riverbanks, at elevations up to 900 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Thrives in a shady location, especially in moist to wet areas[
]. Succeeds in full sun and in moderate shade[
]. Requires a moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter[
Trees can flower and produce fruit all year round[
Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
Flowers - cooked[
]. Aromatic, with a somewhat sour flavour[
]. Eaten as a potherb[
The fruits are used as a masticatory as a replacement for betel nuts (Areca spp.)[
The bark is a very popular herb in Ayurveda, where it is said to be particularly useful for treating the female reproductive system[
]. It is strongly astringent and a uterine sedative[
]. It is said to have a stimulating effect on uterine and ovarian tissue[
]. It is said to be useful in the treatment of several ailments including menstrual cramps; some cases of uterine bleeding; uterine fibroids; haemorrhoids, and internal bleeding[
The bark contains tannins and catechol[
The light reddish-brown wood is soft[
Seed - if the seed is harvested when ripe and sown immediately, preferably after soaking in water for 12 hours, it will germinate within 3 weeks and will be ready to plant out within 6 - 12 months[
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