Polyalthia longifolia is often called just “ashoka tree” but that name actually belongs to Saraca indica. The similarity of foliage causes people to confuse the two trees.
These are columnar trees with a weeping habit that stay full to the ground with greenery from top to bottom.
They have an artistic, charming and somewhat formal look, especially effective when planted in rows.
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One of the most unique South Florida landscape trees, a false ashoka is perfect for narrow areas since it gets very tall but stays slender. This tree works well as a subtropical substitute for Italian Cypress tree, which prefers the cooler temps of Zone 9B and northward.
In the same family as ylang-ylang tree, the tree’s spring flowers are pale green and not showy.
False ashoka is also called the Mast Tree, since builders of sailing ships used the lightweight and flexible wood of the tall trunks to create masts.
Surprisingly wind-tolerant for such tall, narrow trees, these are often used in group plantings for windbreak trees, privacy hedges and even to cut down on noise pollution.
A moderate grower to 30 feet, this tree rarely grows more than 6 to 8 feet wide.