Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mast tree, False Ashoka Tree, Sorrowless Tree
Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula

Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Polyalthia (pol-ee-AL-thee-uh) (Info)
Species: longifolia var. pendula

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Dinu
Thumbnail #1 of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula by Dinu

By Dinu
Thumbnail #2 of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula by Dinu

By Chamma
Thumbnail #3 of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula by Chamma

By Dinu
Thumbnail #4 of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula by Dinu

By knx_gardener
Thumbnail #5 of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula by knx_gardener

By palmbob
Thumbnail #6 of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula by palmbob

By jnana
Thumbnail #7 of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula by jnana

There are a total of 16 photos.
Click here to view them all!


10 positives
5 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Pompano1 On Dec 14, 2013, Pompano1 from Bonnie Lock-Woodsetter North, FL wrote:

I recently traveled to India where I noticed this remarkable tree in New Delhi and elsewhere as a windbreaker and mostly as an ornamental. Some were large and many were small in the tiny gardens available to city people in Delhi. We tried to find out how to buy the seeds and were told we could not fly them out of the country. Where can I get these in South Florida?
I contacted the Fairchild Gardens where they were first introduced to the US. I was told to contact the South Florida Flowering Trees Society. There website is not the best and the tree is not listed. any help would be appreciated . 954.547.0899

Positive brizpeg On Dec 12, 2013, brizpeg from Brisbane
Australia wrote:

We have 3 of these unusual trees growing in our garden, and so far they seem to be thriving. They were planted 2 years ago. There does not seem to be a lot of information available about them from local sources (Botanical Gardens, nurseries, etc). Our main concern is how to fertilize them...any suggestions? (Or do they not need fertilizing?) They are much admired as they are not common here yet.

Neutral ashokha On Feb 19, 2013, ashokha from pudukkottai
India wrote:

Polyalthia longifolia is sometimes incorrectly identified as the Ashoka tree (Saraca indica) because of the close resemblance of both trees.


Neutral pan4tree On Jul 21, 2012, pan4tree from Panama
Panama wrote:

I have an amount of seeds of polyanthia longifolia hatvested from my
3 trees planted backyard. I need to know the method of planting the seeds to grow this tree. My country is too humid and it rains from may to december, then we have a so called summer time from january to april or to middle od may.
I want to plant an amount of seeds so I can give a tree to many of my friends and family.

Negative simraj19 On Jul 6, 2012, simraj19 from Rodney Village, DE wrote:

I m from U.S.A delaware. i want plants seed .can u tell me where i find out. some1 help me.

Neutral Sun_Gardener On Jun 11, 2011, Sun_Gardener wrote:

I am seeking to plant these trees in the Caribbean where I have already seen them growing very well inland. I want to make a noise and privacy screen in narrow beds near to garden walls. Are these trees salt tolerant....the garden is very near to the coast with some salt blast from time to time? Are they stable at full height? I dont want them to topple into the adjoining properties? They will be drip irrigated. Trees like MacArthur and Golden Palms grow there but sometimes get a bit salt burned.

Positive Andyk2212 On Mar 9, 2010, Andyk2212 from Takoradi
Ghana wrote:

These trees appeared in Ghana about 20 yrs. ago. They grow very quickly, very tall here. Planting them from seed works very well, even seeds that fall to the ground germinate on thier own and have to be removed. Widely used as a visual barrier, although I planted mine as a wind breaker and they work very well. I have had people coming to collect fresh leaves which they add to Neem tree leaves and boil as a cure for fever.

Positive omoj On Aug 26, 2007, omoj from Chennai
India wrote:

Mast tree tends to grow during August month rapidly. New plants from seeds also spourts during late August.

Neutral pongsak On Dec 19, 2006, pongsak from Chiang Mai
Thailand (Zone 11) wrote:

Ashoka is a Sanskrit word meaning without grief or that which gives no grief.

Positive babachick On Jun 5, 2006, babachick from Volcano, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

Identifying the Asoka tree can be confusing because there are a few trees that are called Asoka in India, One is Asoka (Polyalthia longifolia) and the another is Asoka (Saraca indica) or Sorrowless tree. It can be spelled differently because the letter 'S' in India is often pronounced 'sh'. Asoka sounds like Ashoka. The tall ghostly formed Asoka is Polyalthia longifolium .....very beautiful, and its fastigiate growth habit is usually pendulous and it can look 'sorrowful'. This is probably why Saraca indica is called 'Sorrowless tree.

Positive smitil On Nov 8, 2004, smitil from Panama
Panama wrote:

My husband and I live in Panama. We don't have four seasons, just four or (luckily) five months of summer and the rest of the year, it rains a lot. Panama is very hot and humid.

From what we have seen, not our own experience yet, this seems to please the polyalthia longifolia. In Panama they call it "hindu pine" or "buddha tree". We search endlessly in the web for information on this cute tree, with no luck, until we found this web.

Since about a year ago, this tree has become very popular here. Mostly they plant it on the front of the houses, and even in heavy traffic streets, the tree seems to do fine. We are moving into our new home soon and we have acquired several young trees to grow.

In the place where we bought them, they were were very uncertain about its origin. They say that the seed was brought from Honduras.

They advise not to prune it, use common 12-24-12 and offered no further advise.

Can anyone give us a few recommendations?


Positive mugwort27 On Aug 23, 2004, mugwort27 from Carlsbad, CA wrote:

I was traveling in Arusha, Tanzania and saw this tree used like Italian Cypresses are used, but for a tropical look. I'm a landscape designer in San Diego, CA and would love to know how to obtain this tree for my designs. The home builders keep putting homes closer and closer together and this tree would solve a lot of privacy issues. Our climate is the similar to the Arusha, Tanzanian climate, too.

Positive palmbob On May 31, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This odd looking tree is grown all over Thailand (particularly Bangkok) as a street and avenue tree- probably the most commonly planted ornamental I saw there.

Positive JohSc On Apr 2, 2004, JohSc wrote:

A very attractive evergreen tree with a straight stem, slender branches and a symmetrical pyramid-like crown. A very common tree in India, popularly (but incorrectly) called an Ashoka tree there. In India it is apparently frequently confused with the real Ashoka tree (Saraca Indica) because the leaves of the two plants look similar. In India it is also referred to as Asupala.

I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to grow this tree here at home in Pretoria, South Africa for the past few years. Discovered your web site today and low and behold I find that Daanl also lives in Pretoria and thet he is also trying to grow this tree. I have already sent him an e-mail and hope to hear from him soon

Positive Daanl On Mar 13, 2004, Daanl wrote:

Hi there Dave,
I saw Polyalthia Longifolia var. pendula for the 1st time last year March in Moshi, Tanzania. Their height varies between 2 and 5-6 meters and they are used mainly to line some streets and sometimes in Government gardens as well. I asked around and was told its name is Indian Ashwood. After returning to South Africa we looked it up in various tree books and also the internet but found zero. On the 5th of this month I returned to Moshi and also visited Dar es Salaam as well as Zanzibar and found the tree everywhere but nobody know anything about it. One guy told me it is popularly known as the Christmas tree, the other said it is the Ashok tree. At the cultural center in Zanzibar a guy told me that it is not indigenous to Tanzania and was brought into the country in 1998. He couldn't however tell me more.
After returning, we found your database with the hitword Ashok tree.
I still does not know where is it originally from and how high, whether it can handle frost or not etc. It seems to be a very fast growing tree.
Can somebody help me because I would love to plant a speciman or 2 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Positive iceman On Sep 22, 2002, iceman from Townsville/Queensland
Australia wrote:

strong growth rate in the tropics of northern Australia, will grow successfully in medium to heavy clay soils. It is being used as a streetscape tree in townsville, QLD, also attracts bower birds that steal the shiny golden seeds to line its bower.experiance shows it has a single taproot that goes straight down till it hits water, and almost no surface feeder roots.It has been successfully grown as a hedge tree with spacings of 1 metre.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Miami, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida

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