Sorrow-less Tree also called 'Ashoka' is a plant belonging to the Detarioideae subfamily of the legume family. It is an important tree in the cultural traditions of the Indian Subcontinent and adjacent areas. It is sometimes incorrectly known as Saraca indica. The flower of Ashoka tree is the state flower of Indian state of Odisha.
Ashoka is one of the most legendary and sacred trees of India, and one of the most fascinating flowers in the Indian range of flower essences. Ashok is a Sanskrit word meaning without grief or that which gives no grief. Indigenous to India, Burma and Malaya, it is an erect tree, small and evergreen, with a smooth, grey-brown bark.
The ashoka is a rain forest tree. Its original distribution was in the central areas of the Deccan plateau, as well as the middle section of the Western Ghats in the western coastal zone of the Indian subcontinent.
The ashoka is prized for its beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers. It is a handsome, small, erect evergreen tree, with deep green leaves growing in dense clusters.
Its flowering season is around February to April. The ashoka flowers come in heavy, lush bunches. They are bright orange-yellow in color, turning red before wilting.
The crown is compact and shapely. Flowers are usually to be seen throughout the year, but it is in January and February that the profusion of orange and scarlet clusters turns the tree into an object of startling beauty. Pinned closely on to every branch and twig, these clusters consist of numerous, small, long-tubed flowers which open out into four oval lobes. Yellow when young, they become orange then crimson with age and from the effect of the sun's rays. From a ring at the top of each tube spread several long, half-white, half-crimson, stamens which give an hairy appearance to the flower clusters. In strong contrast to these fiery blooms is the deep-green, shiny foliage. The foot-long leaves each have four, five or six pairs of long, wavy-edged, leaflets. Young leaves are soft, red and limp and remain pendent even after attaining full size.
As one would expect from a tree of the country it has many useful medicinal properties. Ashoka is used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as hypothermic and diuretic 1
and as a blood purifier, in stomach ache. It is used also in bleeding piles, bacillary dysentery, Asokarista, asokaghrta, asoka decoction and asoka pills are the famous pharmaceutical preparations
The juice obtained from boiling the bark is a cure for some ailments of women, and a pulp of the blossoms is one of the remedies used for dysentery.