English/ Common name- False Ashoka Tree , Mast Tree, Indian Fir Tree

Local name- ಕಂಬದ ಮರ (Kambada Mara)

Botanical name- Monoon longifolium

Appearance- This tree Monoon longifolium is sometimes incorrectly identified as the ashoka tree ( Saraca indica) because of the close resemblance of both trees. This tree can grow upto 30 feet normally. It can appear to have no branches, But This tree will grow into a normal large tree giving plenty of shade. Emerging leaves have a coppery brown pigmentation, as the leaves grow older, the colour becomes a light green and finally a dark green. The leaves are lanceolate and have wavy edges. The flowers are star-like pale green, and fruits are green but turning purple or black when ripe and are eaten by birds such as Koel and Fruit bats.

Origin- The false ashoka is native to southern India and Sri Lanka, but has been widely introduced everywhere in tropical Asia and Africa.

Conditions required for growth- The false ashoka tree is tropical and cold sensitive, They do best in warmer areas with a preference to sunny locations but also shows equally ideal growth in partly shaded locations.

Uses- The leaves are used for ornamental decoration during festivals. The tree is a focal point in gardens throughout India. The tree can be pruned into various shapes and maintained in required sizes. The flexible, straight and light-weight trunks were used in the making of masts for sailing ships. Thus, the tree is also known as the Mast Tree. Today, its wood is mostly used for manufacturing small articles such as pencils, boxes, matchsticks, etc. It also has landscape uses such as lining a driveway, privacy screen, noise pollution screen and as a tall hedge. In Tamil Nadu, it is known as Nettilingam.

Common remedies-

  • For curing mouth ulcers (Part of the tree used - Bark) : Take a small mature bark of this tree about palm length and 2 finger width in a small boiling pan. Bring it to a slow boil. Put a lid to the plant and light simmer for 20 - 40 minutes and turn off the stove. Let the decoction cool to room temperature, We’ll be able to drink that and it’ll help in curing mouth ulcers

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