Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Ashoka tree, Buddha tree, Indian mast tree, and Indian fir tree.

+ Tree Species

Polyalthia longifolia

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Polyalthia longifolia is native to India, commonly planted due to its effectiveness in alleviating noise pollution. It is introduced in gardens in many tropical countries around the world. In Kampala, Ashoka tree can be found within Makerere university, Kitante courts, along Bombo Road, Coral crescent among others.

+ Description

Lofty evergreen tree which exhibits symmetrical pyramidal growth with willowy weeping pendulous branches and long narrow lanceolate leaves with undulate margins. The tree is known to grow over 20 meters in height.

BARK: Dark grey, straight bole.

LEAVES: Fresh leaves are a coppery brown color and are soft and delicate to touch but as the leaves grow older, the color becomes a light green and finally a dark green. The leaves are shaped like a lance and have wavy edges.

FLOWERS: the tree is covered with delicate star-like pale green flowers. The flowers last for a short period, usually two to three weeks, are not conspicuous due to their color.

FRUIT: born in clusters of 10-20, initially green but turning purple or black when ripe.

+ Uses

An ornamental (avenue) tree. The tree is planted for its dense shade and elegant appearance.

The bark is used in manufacturing of fiber.

The soft yellowish-white wood is used in making barrels.

The leaves are used for decoration during festivals.

The timber is used for making drum cylinders, manufacturing pencils, boxes, matchsticks.

The tall straight trunks are used to make masts of sailing ships, hence the common name, Mast Tree.

Agroforestry: forms a tall hedge useful for privacy screening, shade or as a windbreak when closely spaced.

Medicine: the bark, the leaves. https://www.bimbima.com/herbs/medicinal-uses-of-kashtadaru-false-ashok/74/

+ Propagation

Seed, cuttings and layering.

+ Management

It is a fast growing tree and requires good exposure to sunlight and moderate watering. It can be trimmed easily into a straight columnar growth covered with a lot of leaves. For this reason, it is suitable for landscapes, as a hedge tree, and as visual dividers or wind blockers in open spaces.

+ Remarks

The tree can be cut into various shapes and maintained in required sizes. In the past, the flexible, straight and light-weight trunks were used in the making of masts for sailing ships.

Development partners