Melia azedarach L.

Last updated: 3 July 2015

Scientific Name

Melia azedarach L.


Azedara speciosa Raf., Azedarach commelinii Medik., Azedarach deleteria Medik., Azedarach fraxinifolia Moench, Azedarach odoratum Noronha, Azedarach sempervirens Kuntze, Melia angustifolia Schumach. & Thonn., Melia australis Sweet [Invalid], Melia birmanica Kurz, Melia bukayun Royle [Invalid], Melia cochinchinensis M.Roem., Melia commelini Medik. ex Steud. [Invalid], Melia composita Benth. [Illegitimate], Melia dubia Cav., Melia florida Salisb. [Illegitimate], Melia japonica G.Don, Melia orientalis M.Roem., Melia sambucina Blume, Melia sempervirens Sw. [Illegitimate], Melia toosendan Siebold & Zucc. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Mindi keciI [2]
English Chinaberry, persian lilac, pride of India, azedarach, bastard cedar, bead tree, berry tree, black red medicine,cape lilac, cape seringa,cape syringe, ceylon cedar, china tree, chinese umbrella, common bead tree, Indian bead tree, Indian lilac,japanese bead tree, mahogany, night bloom, wild cedar, wild lilac [2][3]
China Ku lian pi, lian [3]
India Ajad darakht, baitan, bakain, ban, betain, dek, deknoi, denkan, ghodanim, han-thapi, hargit, heb bevu, maha limbo, maha nimb, malle vimbou, mallay vembu, pejri padrai, sanka-chagne, tak, taraka vepa, thamga, turka bepa, turukbenu [3]
Indonesia Gringging, mindi (Java); marambung (Sumatra) [2]
Thailand Lian, lian-baiyai (cen­tral); khian (northern) [2]
Philippines Paraiso, balagango (Tagalog); bagalunga (Bisaya) [2]
Cambodia Dâk' hiën, sdau khmaôch [2]
Vietnam C[aa]y xoan, xoan d[aa]u, s[aaf]u d[oo]ng [2]
Singapore Mindi kechil [3]
Laos H'ienx, kadau s'a:ngz [2][3]
Myanmar Tamag [3]
Sri Lanka Lunumidella, Malai vembu, kirikohomba [3]
Japan Sen-yoo-si, senn dan, shen lien, sendan, shindan [3]
Nepal Bakaina, bakaino, bakainu, bakenu, chanyal [3]
Pakistan Dhrek, bakain [3]
Nigeria Foreign kurna, kurna-na-sara, nassara, eke-oyinbo [3]
East Africa Dwele (Luo); lira (Luganda); mwarubaini nusu (Swahili) [3]
South Africa Maksering, mak-seringboom, seringboom, bessieboom, Kaapse sering, seringbessieboom [3]
Portugal Amargoseira [3]

Geographical Distributions

Melia aze­darach is a widely distributed tree, probably of South Asian origin, occurring widely in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions. It is found wild in the Himalayan foothills of India and Pakistan at altitudes of 700-1000 m, widely scat­tered in China, through Malaysia to the Solomon Islands and northern and eastern Australia. It is naturalised in a wide belt in the cooler parts of eastern and southern Africa, in the Americas from Argentina to the southern United States and Hawaii, and throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean as far north as Croatia and south­ern France. The most frost-tolerant cultivars can be planted outdoors in sheltered areas in the British Isles. [2]

Botanical Description

M. aze­darach is a member of the Melaceae family. It is a deciduous tree that can reach up to 45 m tall. Its bole flutes below when old, and measures up to 60(-120) cm in diametre. The bark is grey-brown, smooth, lenticellate, and becomes lightly fissured or scally with age. The inner bark consists of yellowish, whitish sapwood and rusty brown hardwood. The crown is widely spread with sparsely branched limbs. The twigs are upturned at the end of drooping branchlets, smooth, brown, lenticellate and with raised cicatrices. The leafy twigs are with fulvous stellate hairs. [2]

The leaves are bipinnate, occasionally wholly or partly tripinnate, more or less opposite, measure (15-)23­80 cm long and nearly hairless. The petiole is 8-30 cm long, cylindrical, lenticellate and swollen at the base. The pinna is in 3-7 pairs and measures up to 25 cm long. The petiolule is 3-7 mm long. The leaflets are in 3-7 pairs, opposite or nearly so, ovate or oblong-Iance-shaped to elliptical and measuring 2-10 cm x 0.6-3.8 cm. The base is slightly unequilateral, with acute to rounded, acuminate apex while the margin is entire to variously ser­rate. [2]

The inflorescence is a thyrse, axillary or in axil of rudimentary leaves on short shoots. It is 10-22 cm long with the primary branches 5-7.5 cm long while the secondary branches are up to 2 cm long and bear fascicles of flow­ers. The bracts are 3-10 mm long, slender and caducous. The bracteoles are similar but smaller. The pedicel is 2-3 mm long. The flowers are purplish, fragrant, bisexual or male and 5-merous. The sepal is tubular, measures about 2 mm in diametre, with lobes about 2 mm long, with exterior stellate and simple hairs. The petals are free, narrowly oblong, measuring 6-10 mm x 2 mm, white to lilac or bluish and minutely pubescent outside. The staminal tube is about 7 mm long, from lilac turns to deep purple, with smooth exterior and with dense simple hairs throughout the interior. The 10 anthers are sessile. The pistil is hairless. The 5-lobed stigma is club-shaped. [2]

The fruit is a drupe, ellipsoid-spherical, measuring 2-4 cm x 1-2 cm, yellow-brown when ripens, smooth and up to 5-seeded. The seed is oblongoid, measuring 3.5 mm x 1.6 mm, smooth and brown. [2]


The natural habitat of M. aze­darach is seasonal forests, including bamboo thickets, Ta­marindus woodland and Eucalyptus savanna. Its natural occurrence from the Himalayan foothills of Baluchistan (Pakistan) and Kashmir (India) to the lowland of Papua New Guinea indicates that it is highly adaptable and tolerates a wide range of conditions. The mean maximum temperature of the hottest month may reach 39°C, while the mean min­imum temperature of the coldest month is -5°C, al­though many forms only tolerate a narrower range. In eastern coastal Australia, M. azedarach oc­curs where the mean maximum temperature of the hottest month is 26-32°C and the mean mini­mum temperature of the coldest month 3-100°C. Young trees are sensitive to frost, but old ones tol­erate up to -15°C. It is generally found from 0-1200 m altitude, and in the Himalayas up to 1800(-2200) m. Annual rainfall in its natural habitat ranges from 600-2000 mm. [2]

In Africa, M. aze­darach is planted as a drought-tolerant shade tree and or­nament. The plant is widely distributed in the drier parts of the Suthern and South-western United States, while in humid Florida, it is self-­ sowing and considered a weed. Where annual rainfall is less than 600 mm, as in parts of the Middle East, it performs well on wet soils along rivers and under irrigation. M. azedarach toler­ates seasonal waterlogging and is even reported from permanently waterlogged sites. Strong winds may break off limbs. Although optimal growth is obtained on well drained, deep, sandy loams, M. azedarach toler­ates shallow soils, saline and strongly alkaline soils, but not very acid soils. Reports on its toler­ance of heavy clays are contradictory. It is found on poor, marginal, sloping, and stony land, even in crevices in sheer rock. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of M. azedarach. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Melia azedarach L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 3 July]. Available from:
  2. Ahmed S, Idris S. Melia azedarach L. In: Faridah Hanum I, van der Maesen LJG, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 11: Auxiliary plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1997; p. 187-190
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of plant names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 93-94.