Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ashok ful (অশোক ফুল) - Saraca asoca

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Bengali Name : Ashok ful (অশোক ফুল).
Common Name : Ashoka, Sorrowless tree, etc.
Botanical Name : Saraca asoca
Family : Fabaceae

Ashoka is a very bright, colorful flowering tree that cheers our Bangladesh's spring during February to April. This is a sacred tree for both Hindu and Buddha religion (i.e. Lord Buddha was born under an Ashok tree). This tree is frequently found near the Hindu or Buddhist temple in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka. This plant is native in our Indian subcontinent. In Bangladesh we call this Ashok ful (অশোক ফুল). Its botanical name is Saraca asoca, and it belongs to the plant family Fabaceae and subfamily Caesalpinioideae. In English it is called as Sorrowless tree (literal translation of Ashok in both Bengali & Sanskrit language).

Once upon a time this Ashok (অশোক) was a natural wild growing flowering plant in the forest. But these days it is in a vulnerable state (i.e. in Bangladesh its only seen around the parks, and extremely rare in forests). This is a small but evergreen flowering tree with dark green leafs. Leafs are having 6-12 leaflets on it.

Ashok flowers (অশোক ফুল) are erected directly from the wood.

Though the flower blooms throughout the years in Ashok (অশোক) tree, but profusely blooming season is the Spring, which is from February to April in Bangladesh. It brings numerous of clustered flowers in a tree that time. Floors occur from the wood of the tree directly. Initial color of the flower is orange-red or orange-yellow but later it turns into red, like a fireball.

Ashok flowers (অশোক ফুল) are erected directly from the wood.

The flower cluster is slightly near to the Ixora flower's shape. Small flowers from the cluster is having a tubular shape. I have observed four petals on the flower with very long stamens. For those long stamens the flower cluster looks like hairy. Ashok is one of the very few trees from the world which brings flower directly from the stem or branch from top to bottom.

In the song Fagun Haoay Haoay (ফাগুন হাওয়ায় হাওয়ায়) our great poet Rabindranath Tagore (রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর) has mentioned this flower. He wrote that millions of color are flourishing around the Ashok (অশোক) tree along with another spring flower Polash (পলাশ).

তোমার অশোকে কিংশুকে, অলক্ষ রং লাগলো আমার অকারণের সুখে

If you want to see this flower then there are several options for you. Best two places will be the Botanical garden and the Romna park (রমনা পার্ক). Just beside the Kakrail mosque (কাকরাইল মসজিদ), inside the Romna park (রমনা পার্ক) has a zone specially dedicated for this flowering tree. You'll find 15-20 trees on there. You'll find this tree around Dhaka University area, Dhanmondi lake (ধানমন্ডি লেক), etc are too.

Long stamen of the Ashok flower (অশোক ফুল).

Ashok flowers (অশোক ফুল) are erected directly from the wood.

Ashok flowers (অশোক ফুল) are erected directly from the wood.

Seems like the tree is in fire.

Most of the leafs are here with 10-12 leaflets.

Ashok flowers (অশোক ফুল) are erected directly from the wood.

Photos of this article were taken from Dhaka Botanical Garden (বোটানিক্যাল গার্ডেন, ঢাকা), Romna Park (রমনা পার্ক), and Dhaka University during the month of February and March of 2015. It was the spring time, the blooming season for this flower.

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

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