The tree bears the same name as Arjuna, the warrior hero of the epic Mahabharata. Arjuna in Sanskrit means ‘white’. This refers to the white coloured bark of the tree. The tree is also associated with Goddess Sita, the consort of Lord Rama. It is believed that she was fascinated with the smooth texture of the whitish trunk of the tree.
According to the Bhagavatha Purana, Nalakuber and Mangriva, the sons of Kubera were cursed to turn into the Arjun tree by Narada. After about 100 years, the two were relieved of the curse by Lord Krishna.