Saraca indica or Ashoka Tree (Asoca)
Three species go by the same common name, Saraca indica, Saraca thaipingensis, and Saraca chinensis. However these are still only the three best known of the genus all commonly known as Ashoka. The name Asoka itself come from an Indian Emperor. Although the trees are called Ashoka, if is actually asoca.
S. thaipingensis or ‘Sorrowless Tree’ is Sarac asoca, a tropical to sub tropical plant.
Flowering in spring with masses of flowers, some sporadic flowering will continue through summer to autumn. This is an important tree is the Hindu religion however it is also valued in aeurveydic medinine.
Best grown in part shade or perhaps afternoon shade in the Australian climate, and a humus rich moist soil fertilize in early spring and again in early summer with a general purpose slow release fertiliser.
With a little light pruning each spring plants can easily be kept in shape.
- S. declinata is another highly ornamental tree, masses of orange flowers
- S. indica is from India and is a small tree, often with multiple trunks, evergreen, paripinnate foliage and with orange flowers. (Paripinnate means pairs of leaves with no single terminal leaf)
- S. thaipingensis is yellow flowering and prefers a part shaded position Interesting in that the flowers can form directly onto the woody stems of the plants. Very ornamental tree when mature.
Saraca or ‘Ashoka are not readily available at nurseries in Australia. A few good examples can be found in the streets of Cairns.