BugwoodWiki Article

chinaberry
Melia azedarach L.

Overview

Appearance
Melia azedarach is a deciduous tree growing to 50 ft. (15.2 m) in height and 2 ft. (0.6 m) in diameter.
Foliage
The leaves are alternate, bi-pinnately compound, 1-2 ft. (0.3-0.6 m) in length and turn golden-yellow in fall.
Flowers
Flowering occurs in the spring, when showy, lavender, 5-petaled flowers develop in panicles.
Fruit
Fruit are hard, yellow, marble-sized, stalked berries that can be dangerous on sidewalks and other walkways. Seeds are spread by birds.
Ecological Threat
Melia azedarach invades disturbed areas and is commonly found along roads and forest edges. It has the potential to grow in dense thickets, restricting the growth of native vegetation. Melia azedarach is native to Southeast Asia and northern Australia. It was introduced into the United States in the mid 1800s for ornamental purposes.

DESCRIPTION AND DIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERISTICS

Melia azedarach is a small to medium-sized shrub or tree in the mahogany family (Meliaceae). Branches of chinaberry are stout, with purplish qk and dotted with buff-colored lenticels. Leaves are twice to three-times compound, alternate, and puberulent to glabrous. Leaflets are 2-8 cm long, serrate or crenate, dark green above, often with sparse hairs along the veins and lighter green and generally smooth below. The inflorescence is a panicle from leaf axils and from leafless nodes on the lower part of the new growth. The perfect flowers are 5-parted. Sepals are green, 1.5-2 mm long. Petals are pinkish lavender, ligulate, 1-1.3 cm long. Stamens are united into a cylindrical, dark purple tube, 6-8 mm long, cut at the apex into 15-25 slender teeth. Each flower has ten anthers. Flowers are fragrant. The fruit is a stalked, one-seeded drupe that is greenish yellow to yellowish tan, globose, and 1-1.5 cm in diameter.

M. azedarach is distinguished from other members of the Meliaceae in the southeastern U.S. by the nature of its compound leaves, and by its drooping, persistent clusters of yellowish fruits. M. azedarach is not easily confused with any other plants in its introduced North American range (K. Burks, personal communication).

Resources

Selected Images


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chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Tree(s)
Chuck Bargeron
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chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Tree(s)
David J. Moorhead
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1380478

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Flower(s)
Chris Evans
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5424036

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Fruit(s)
Franklin Bonner
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chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Foliage
John M. Randall
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chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Flower(s)
James H. Miller & Ted Bodner
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2307034

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Bark
James H. Miller
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2307031

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Foliage
James H. Miller
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5345072

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Feature(s)
David J. Moorhead
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5344090

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Feature(s)
Chuck Bargeron
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5005002

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Fruit(s)
Ronald F. Billings
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5005003

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Fruit(s)
Ronald F. Billings
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5434755

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Flower(s)
Karan A. Rawlins
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5302051

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Flower(s)
Chuck Bargeron
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5005001

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Plant(s)
Ronald F. Billings
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2307037

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Tree(s)
James H. Miller
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5302030

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Infestation
Chuck Bargeron
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5345017

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Infestation
David J. Moorhead
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5308012

chinaberry
Melia azedarach
Seed(s)
Steve Hurst

Maps


EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

EDDMapS Distribution

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

State Regulated List

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Melia

Other System Links

Plants: MEAZ
Bayer: MEIAZ
GRIN: 23936
ITIS: 29024
NPDN Pest: PDEABBA
NPDN Host: 35154

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
Chinaberrytree, Persian lilac, pride-of-India, chinaberry, umbrella tree

Related Scientific Names:

Melia japonica var. semperflorens (G. Don) Makino(Synonym)

Categories

Category: Hardwood Trees
Category: Shrub or Subshrub