Common Name: Mast Tree, False Ashoka
Scientific Name: Polyalthia longifolia ‘Pendula’
Growth Rate: Moderate
Salt Tolerance: Moderate
Drought Tol.: Moderate
Typical Height: 30ft - 45ft
The Mast tree, or Polyalthia longifolia “Pendula” is a beautiful, narrow, upright, tropical evergreen tree that thrives in tight spaces. It is covered from top to bottom with graceful, shiny pendulous leaves. When the Mast tree flushes, it creates a spectacular color contrast as the leaves mature from a light lime green to a coppery brown and finally to a shiny dark green. The Mast tree will typically flower once per year in spring or summer and has a small star like pale green flower.
A native of India and Sri Lanka, the Mast Tree is also known as False Ashoka, Buddha tree, Indian Mast tree, and Indian Fir tree. It became popular in British India for its resemblance t the Mediterranean Cypress and because the tall, straight trunk made it ideal for ship masts.
Mast trees are excellent tropical substitutes for the Italian Cypress and flourish in Florida’s warm, humid climate. Mast trees have a moderate growth rate and do very well in confined areas reaching widths of 4 to 5 feet and heights from 30 to 45 feet. As evergreens, they have very little leaf drop, moderate salt tolerance, no pest issues of note, thrive in bright locations and tolerate partial shade. Our seeds were obtained from mast trees that handled mid to low 20’s in the winter of 2009-2010. Mast trees are perfect screening plants for narrow, confined planting spaces because they grow quite tall but stay slender.
Use them as:
• Architectural accents
• Lining avenues or driveways
• Living hedges
• Privacy screens around pools
• Privacy between houses
• Noise reduction
• Wind screens
The attention getting Mast tree is quite new to Florida grower production but is destined to become a popular choice for Florida landscape architects, contractors, and designers. Available 2018.