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Pakistan | Family List | Annonaceae | Polyalthia

Polyalthia longifolia (Sonnerat) Thwait., Enum. Pl. Zeyl. 398. 1864. Hook. f. & Thorns. in Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 1:62. 1872; Cooke, Fl. Pres. Bomb. 1:13. 1901; Parker, For. Fl. Punj. 7.1956 (3rd. ed.); Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vase. Pl. W. Pak. Kashm. 284. 1972; Sharma & Bir, Fl. Patiala, 20. 1978.

Vern.: Ashok, Debdar.


  • Guatteria longifolia Wall.
  • Uvaria longifolia Sonnerat

    Evergreen tree, upto 13 m tall. Young branches pilose, becoming glabrous. Leaves lanceolate, 21.5-30.0 x 3.7-5.6 cm, tapering to a fine point, margins undulate, glossy above, glabrous on both sides (juvenile leaves tomentose). Petiole 4-8 mm long, glabrous. Peduncle 3-11 mm long, axillary, pubescent, 6-many flowered, usually pendant. Pedicel 23-30 mm, pubescent. Bract minute, caducous, bracteole semi-amplexicaule, densely hairy. Sepals broadly deltiod, 2 x 2-3 mm, obtuse to subacute, ± free, pubescent on both sides. Petals narrow lanceolate, 10-19 x 2.5-3.5 mm, outer slightly smaller than the inner, tapering into a fine point, slightly undulate, pubescent on both sides, pale green to yellowish green. Receptacle convex. Stamens 1 mm long, anther subsessile, locules unequal, connective-tip subtruncate. Carpels free, c. 1.5 mm long, ovary glabrous except few hairs in the upper part, stigma subsessile, papillate. Fruit of 10-15 baccate monocarps on upto 37 mm long woody stalk. Mature mono-carp c. 20 mm long, ovoid, rounded at both ends, purplish black, 1-seeded, stipe c. 12 mm long, stout, glabrous.

    Fl. Per.: March-May.

    Type: Wall. Cat. 6442 (K-W).

    Distribution: Indigenous to Sri Lanka, cultivated in India, Malaya, Pakistan and Tropical East Africa.

    The Mast Tree is indigenous to Sri Lanka, elsewhere it is cultivated. In Pakistan, it is commonly cultivated in Sind as an avenue tree or in gardens, also occasionally planted in Punjab. It rarely flowers in Karachi. The cultivar pendula (weeping variety) is columnar with short drooping branches, sometimes the lower branches touching the ground. The tree is supposed to have several medicinal qualities. The bark is febrifuge and the inner bark yields a useful fibre. The berries are relished by bats, reportedly eaten by men also during scarcity. The tall, straight trunks were used as mast in the olden days of sailing ships.


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