Melia azedarach L.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: umbrella tree
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, bipinnate or tripinnate; petioles long, blades up to ca. 20” long, subleaflets serrate
  • FLOWER: perfect (bisexual), with 5 showy pink to lilac petals to ca. 0.5” long; flowers organized in large axillary panicles; flowering in early spring
  • FRUIT: yellow subglobose drupe 0.4-0.6” broad (toxic!)
  • TWIGS: stout, purplish, smooth and dotted with round brownish-yellow lenticels; terminal buds absent; leaf scars prominent and raised, three-lobed; axillary buds rounded, densely stellate pubescent
  • BARK: brown to reddish-brown, with somewhat interlacing ridges and furrows
  • FORM: small, fast growing tree to ca. 50’ tall, often flowering and fruiting when of shrub stature
  • HABITAT: ruderal forests, open areas along streams, persistent at old home sites, old fields
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Obligate Upland (UPL): Almost never occurs in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: native to tropical Asia and Australia; introduced in southern US from Virginia to California [Global Range Map]  [US County Range Map]
  • USES: ornamental, shade tree; wood used for veneer, carvings, furniture, cabinetry, musical instruments, matches, tool handles; dried fruits have been used for rosary beads in southern Louisiana
  • WILDLIFE: often browsed by whitetail deer
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. large bipinnately compound leaf
    2. showy panicles of pink flowers in early spring
    3. persistent yellow fruit