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Saraca asoca– morphology and diversity across its natural distribution in India

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Aim:This review aims in consolidating the microscopic, propagative, and diversity studies on Saraca asoca (Roxb.) de Wilde. Studies on seed germination, biochemical and Physico-chemical parameters, and population status are discussed.  Microscopic and diversity studies highlight how the Ashoka tree is different from its adulterants and throws light on the genetic variation and polymorphism existing within the populations and the evolutionary relationship of the tree with other members of the same family. Propagation studies by tissue culture can help in replenishing the wild population through mass propagation. Thus, this review has tried to compile some of the research studies conducted on Saraca asoca and also looks at the areas yet to explore. 

Background:Saraca asoca (Roxb.) de Wilde is an evergreen tree of the Fabaceae family, and the bark is used to treat gynecological problems. Unethical harvesting and deforestation have reduced the wild population, listing the Ashoka tree in the 'Globally vulnerable' category by IUCN. Huge market demand has led to adulteration with substitutes. The wide use of micropropagation techniques can help in replenishing the wild population. This article has listed the major research works done on this medicinal tree.

Review results:The studies reveal the importance of the micropropagation technique and throw light on the seriousness of replenishment of this red-listed tree. Marker studies can help in understanding the diversity within the populations and give ideas about preserving the germplasm. A brief botanical description of the tree and its parts also is done.

Conclusion:Studies indicate the importance of protecting the wild population of Saraca asoca. The Government and local bodies should work together to create awareness among the people about the species for protecting and replenishing their depleting population.


saraca asoca, review, micropropagation, markers, genetic variation, germination