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ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Ashok, False Ashok, Mast Tree • Hindi: Ashok अशोक • Marathi: Devdar देवदार • Malayalam: അശൊകമ് Ashokam, അശ്വത്തമ് Ashvattam • Manipuri: ꯗꯦꯕꯗꯥꯔ Debdar • Telugu: Devdaru • Tamil: Vansulam • Assamese: Umboi • Kannada: ಉಬ್ಬಿನ Ubbina, ಕಂಬದ ಮರ Kambada mara • Sanskrit: Putrajiva • Konkani: Asok
Botanical name: Monoon longifolium    Family: Annonaceae (Sugar apple family)
Synonyms: Polyalthia longifolia, Unona longifolia, Uvaria longifolia

Ashok is native to India and Srilanka. Somehow, the name Ashok has stuck in north India, although the "real" Ashok is what is also called Sita Ashok. The weeping, branching habit of this 25-foot tall tree gives it a narrow columnar shape. Glossy green, long, narrow leaves have attractive wavy edges. Ashok is commonly seen as a lofty column, very graceful with its downward-sweeping branchlets and shining, green foliage ; but sometimes wide-spreading slender branches issue from the straight trunk and form a compact symmetrical crown. It is a very popular tree in India. The bark is smooth and dark greyish-brown. Flowers appear during March and April. For a short period — two or three weeks only — the tree is covered with a profusion of delicate, star-like flowers, which, being palest-green in colour, give the tree a peculiar hazy appearance. They grow in clusters from small protuberances all along the dark branchlets. Each flower, borne on a slim, green stem has a tiny calyx and six long, narrow, wavy petals arranged in two sets of three.

Identification credit: Rita Singh Photographed in Delhi.

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