Malaysian Ashok
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Malaysian Ashok
E Introduced Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Malaysian Ashok
Botanical name: Saraca indica    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Saraca bijuga, Saraca pierreana, Saraca arborescens

Malaysian Ashok is a small tree with compact crown, up to 10 m tall. Leaves are pinnately compound, with 6-12 leaflets. Young leaflets are reddish and hang limply like handkerchiefs. Tree exhibits cauliflory - flowers produced in big dense clusters directly on trunk or branches. Unlike most other legumes, flowers have no petals. Sepals open yellow, aging to orange and red, fragrant especially upon dusk. Fairly free-blooming, but more prolific from Feb to May when whole tree may be covered with blooms. Fruits are large flat, leathery explosive pods 20 cm, purplish when mature, shaped like scimitars. Malaysian Ashok is native to Indo-China to W. Malesia.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bengaluru.

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