Flowering Plants of Kerala: Ashoka Tree

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Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta or Angiosperms – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicots
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae → Caesalpiniaceae (The Gulmohar family)
Botanical name: Saraca asoca
Common Name: Ashoka Tree or Sita Ashok
Habit: Evergreen Tree

One of the most sacred and ancient trees of India. Ashok is a Sanskrit word meaning "sorrow-less"; the tree is believed to be capable of relieving sorrows. This handsome tree is considered as a symbol of love and dedicated to Kamadeva, the Hindu God of love. The Ashoka tree is worshiped by the Buddhists because Lord Buddha was said to have been born under this tree. The Indian epic Ramayana mentions 'Ashoka Vatika' (the garden of Ashoka trees) where Hanuman meets Sita for the first time in Lanka. This tree is usually planted near temples. It is the State Flower of Orissa. 

The tree has high medicinal values: it has been used for treatment of uterine, genital ailments and other reproductive disorders in women, fever, pain and inflammation. The bark is used in cases of uterine bleeding, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility. Decoction of bark is used in dysentery treatment. Leaves posses blood-purifying properties and also used for curing stomach-ache. The dried flowers are used in diabetes and hemorrhagic dysentery and seeds are used for curing bone fractures, strangury and vesical calculi. The flowers are also used in cases like burning sensation, dysentery, hyperdypsia, scabies in children and inflammation. 

ashoka tree
ashoka tree
ashoka tree
ashoka tree
ashoka tree
ashoka tree
ashoka tree

The above pictures were taken with Nikon Coolpix. Please click on each picture to get the full view.
Location: My garden at Kottayam, Kerala

Further Reading:

Flowers of India

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the medicinal values of Ashoka tree. Is it called a sorrowless tree due to its medicinal properties?

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    Replies
    1. Yes! Hindu women eat the flower buds of Ashoka tree on the "Ashok Shasthi day", they believe that by drinking the water soaked with Ashoka flowers will protect their children from worry and grief.

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  2. Hey, good information on the article. I have couple of seeds with me and a sapling. I would like to know if any special care need to be given. Can you help?

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