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Saraca indica


Saraca indica L.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Saraca bijuga, Saraca asoca (sensu auct., misapplied), Saraca pierreana, Saraca harmandiana, Saraca arborescens
Common Name: Sorrowless Tree, Asoka Tree, Ashoka Tree, Gapis, Talan, 无忧树, 印度无忧树, 无忧花


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Rounded
Maximum Height 7 m to 10 m


Native Distribution Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Small tree with compact crown, up to 10m height.
Foliage Pinnately compound, with 6 - 12 leaflets. Young leaflets reddish and hang limply like handkerchiefs.
Flowers 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.
Fruit Large flat, leathery explosive pods (20cm), purplish when mature, shaped like scimitars.
Similar Differentiated from Saraca thaipingensis by its smaller leaflets with very short (almost sessile) petioles, and its orange-red flowers (vs. orange for Saraca thaipingensis.)
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Flowers
Food (Herb and Spice)
Others: Medicinal: Parts of tree used in traditional Ayruvedic medicine and homeopathic therapies. Juice obtained from boiling of bark said to be effective against female medical disorders like menstrual irregularities. Flowers are eaten against dysentery. Cultural: Tree is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. Represents symbol of love to Hindus and dedicated to Lord Rama. Buddhists believe Sakaymuni Buddha was born under this tree. Commonly planted in temple compounds and flowers are used in religious offerings. Hindus believe that by drinking the water in which the flowers have lain, their children will be protected from grief.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Flowers) (Night, Dawn / Dusk, Day), Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, General
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bee-Attracting
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Acute
Typical Foliar Area Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Tree - Dense Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Grey brown
Mature Bark Texture Smooth
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Orange, Red, Yellow / Golden
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic
Inflorescence Size Remarks Yellow (when young) to orange to red

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Legume / Pod

Image Repository



Master ID 1820
Species ID 3113
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.