Melia azedarach L., Sp. Pl. 384 1753. (Syn. Azedara speciosa Raf.; Azedarach commelinii Medik.; Azedarach deleteria Medik.; Azedarach fraxinifolia Moench; Azedarach odoratum Noronha; Azedarach sempervirens Kuntze; Azedarach sempervirens var. glabrior (C.DC.) Kuntze ..; Melia azedarach var. intermedia (Makino) Makino …..; Melia japonica var. semperflorens Makino; Melia toosendan Siebold & Zucc. ….);
bead tree, chinaberry tree, lilac tree, Persian lilac, pride of China, pride of India, umbrella tree, white cedar • Bengali: bakarjam • Hindi: बकैन bakain • Kannada: bevu • Malayalam: malaveppu • Manipuri: seizrak • Marathi: बकाणनिंब bakan-nimb • Sanskrit: महानिंब mahanimbah • Tamil: காட்டு வேம்பூ kattu vembhu, malaivembu • Telugu: kali-yapa, turka vepa;
India: Cultivated almost throughout as per BSI Flora of India;
A medium-sized to large tree, with dark grey bark. Leaves 20-40 cm, 2- or 3-pinnate. Pinnae nearly opposite. Leaflets 3-11, ovate or lanceolate, serrate or entire, acuminate with more or less oblique base. Flowers honey-scented, in long, peduncled, axillary panicles. Calyx deeply 5-lobed, lobes lanceolate-oblong. Petals linear spathulate, minutely hairy. Staminal tube purple with 20-30 linear teeth, anthers at the mouth of the tube, sessile, apiculate. Ovary 5-celled. Drupes globose, more or less dry, yellow and wrinkled when ripe.
Neem is Azadirachta indica, and it is easily differentiated by Unipinnate (and not bipinnate leaves) and more important creamish white flowers.
Melia azedarach is easily differentiated from neem tree by its bipinnate leaves and lilac flowers.
Another point of differentiation is the shape of fruits spherical here and oblong yellow in A.indica
In Flora of India Vol-4 edited by P.K.Hajra, V.J.Nair & P. Daniel (1997) account of Meliaceae is written by S.S. Jain & S.S.R. Bennet. This document (Jain & Bennet, 1997) published by BSI differentiate Melia and Azadirachta as (partially modified here)-
Trees with covering of simple hairs; leaves unipinnate; stigma 3-lobed; drupes 1-seeded; endocarp thin ………. Azadirachta (1 species only)
Trees with dense covering of stellate hairs; leaves 2-3-pinnate; stigma 4-8-lobed; drupes 3-8-seeded; endocarp stony …….. Melia ( 2 species)
Species of Melia are differentiated as-
Branchlets slender; flowers lilac, honey- scented; drupes to 2 cm long ……………. M. azedarach
Branchlets stout; flowers white, non scented; drupes 2.5-4 cm long ……………….. M. dubia
TSPNOV2015-87-130: Images of Melia azedarach (Meliaceae) : 5 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (7)
It is my pleasure to share few images of Melia azedarach (Meliaceae)
Habitat: Wild, in waste lands
Sighting: Hassan and Tumkur, Karnataka, about 800 msl
Date: 11-05-2014, 24-05-2014, 22-09-2014 and 22-09-2014
nice. i particularly like the colloquial names like persian lilac, or indian lilac.. and to have it here handy… today i found that wiki page talks of insecticidal use of its oil. thats obvious compared to neem oil. but i found it curious to read that the berries can be co-dried it seems with apple slices and the apple slices wont get infected… a fact to remember and not dismiss this tree as a weed ...reference is from in the same wiki page as above
Your reference to its insecticidal properties is relevant. Leaves are not as bitter as neem leaves but fruits are very poisonous to humans…! The ingestion may cause vomiting, bloody faeces and even cardiac arrest…! Diluted infusion of leaves is used to induce uterine relaxation…but no self medication please…!!! But certain birds are immune.
Just to add regarding its toxicity. Fruits and bark contain a high level of saponins and triterpenes that are very toxic to humans. M.azedarach poisoning, if untreated, may result in gastrointestinal, cardiac, respiratory, and neurological dysfunction and even death…! Symptoms of poisoning are vomiting, stomachpain, pulmonary congestion followed by cardiac arrest. Six to 10 fruits or about 400 Gms of the bark is said to be lethal to humans.
oh, ok. that’s why many floridians dont like to have it in their yards as did some north californians… at least that were reported in the 80s and 90s in the local newspapers..
i never took it seriously (not my area of interest and study then) and these are the same folks who at one point did not want even moringa trees in their neighborhoods … so i had stopped listening to their cautions…. about weeds, though none talked of the toxicity back then.
we dont commonly see it in kolkata, so was not aware of the toxicity cautions but they should be heeded, and seriously it seems.
Melia azedarach from Kaithal-2011: (10 images)
This one Melia azedarach Linn., Sp. Pl. 384; commonly called Dhrek, Bakain, Dek, is a medium-sized to large tree, with dark grey bark. Leaves 20-40 cm, 2- or 3-pinnate. Pinnae nearly opposite. Leaflets 3-11, ovate or lanceolate, serrate or entire, acuminate with more or less oblique base. Flowers honey-scented, in long, peduncled, axillary panicles. Calyx deeply 5-lobed, lobes lanceolate-oblong. Petals linear spathulate, minutely hairy. Staminal tube purple with 20-30 linear teeth, anthers at the mouth of the tube, sessile, apiculate. Ovary 5-celled. Drupes globose, more or less dry, yellow and wrinkled when ripe.
Was shot from Singhpura Khera, Kaithal-Haryana in March 2011.
Very Good Shots, a complete set
The staminal tube with teeth looks awesome.
Melia azedarach L.: 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1).
Melia azedarach L., Fam: Meliaceae
used in medicine
SYMBIOSIS :501 : Attachments (1). 1 post by 1 author.
Attaching an image of a Rose-ringed Parakeet on the fruits of Melia azedarach (PERSIAN LILAC/ BEAD TREE/ BAKAIN/ GHORA NEEM).
SYMBIOSIS : 530 : Attachments (1). 1 post by 1 author.
Attaching an image of a male Purple Sun-bird on the flowers of Melia azedarach (PARSIAN LILAC/ INDIAN BEAD TREE/ GHORA NEEM/ BAKAIN).
HP, Oct 2014 :: Requesting ID validation :: ARKNOV-61 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (5)
Requesting to please validate ID of this roadside tree at Dharamshala, HP captured in October 2014.
SYMBIOSIS : 698 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1)
Attaching an image of a Red-whiskered Bulbul on the fruits of Melia azedarach (INDIAN BEAD TREE/ BAKAIN/ GHORA NEEM).
SYMBIOSIS : 699 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1).
Attaching an image of a Red-vented Bulbul on the fruits of Melia azedarach. (INDIAN BEAD-TREE/ BAKAIN/ GHORANEEM).
MNP, Aug 2014 :: Requesting ID of this plant :: ARKJAN-23/23 : 5 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)
Requesting to please ID this plant captured in MNPark, Mumbai in August 2014.
Is this Lannea coromandelica?
I am more inclined towards Melia azderach…though the pics do not yield much..
Thanks … yes, the fruits do resemble that of M. azedarach.
I also think it is Melia azedarach.
SYMBIOSIS : 890 : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
attaching a collage of Red Vented Bulbul feeding on the fruits of Melia azedarach (BAKAIN/ GHORA NIM/ BEAD TREE/ PERSIAN LILAC).
Melia azedarach : Attachments (4 + 3 + 1). 30 posts by 8 authors.
Have just gone through the discussion on the above and Neem, but still confused. I think the tree pics I am posting are of Melia azedarach due to the trunk and the toothed, oblique and largest leaflet at the apex. Hope ID is correct. Seen at Shahpur, Mah. on 28 March ’10.
This is a Neem tree [Azadirachta indica], also called the Margosa tree.
Thanks … Can you please indicate what is the main distinction ? how about the trunk ? Thanks.
… is right. it is not Neem, it is Bakan neem (Gujarati name)
I think many of us are getting confused, although the two plants are so different
let us for a moment forget about the specific epithet azedarach and and generic name Azadirachta.
Neem is Azadirachta indica, and it is easily differentiated by Unipinnate (and not bipinnate leaves) and more important creamish white flowers. It appears atleast 20 days to 1 month later. It has yet to start flowering in Delhi atleast.
The plant uploaded here by … is Melia azedarach the persian lilac, bead tree, pride of India, China tree, locally known as Drek or bakain in Hindi, Mahanim in Sanskrit and Bengal, Pejri or padri in Mar., Bakam limbodo in Guj., Turaka vepa in Tel., Malai vembu in Tam., Thamaga in Assam, Bakaina in Nepal. It is easily differentiated from neem tree by its bipinnate leaves and lilac flowers.
Thank you very much … Now I will always remember the difference.
Your pictures certainly appear to be of Melia azedarach. Another point of differentiation is the shape of fruits spherical here and oblong yellow in A.indica
Here are the fruits of the two
Thank you for the comparative pics … The two are quite distinct. Also the petiole size of leaves is much longer in Melia and shorter in Neem.
Oh great… It is almost a complete compilation.
1) Neem – Pinnate leaf, Pale green flowers, Yellow oblong fruits, Juicy sweet bitter fruits, enjoyed by all birds and even children. Highly valued for medicinal property. Good quantity of oil in seeds. Grows as a huge tree
My apologies. Missed the bi-pinnate leaves. It is Melia azedarach [Persian Lilac].
This thread is turning out to be interesting. Could the third plant mentioned by … turn out to be M. dubia Cav. (or if we believe useful plants of India Indian plant M. dubia Hiern. is different from M. dubia Cav. and correctly M. composita Willd.), a wild tree more useful as timber plant. The plant can have tripinnate leaves and more importantly flowers are creamish white like neem. The plant seems to be growing in South West India. Could any member upload its photographs to complete the series.
How about Tripinnate species. Please enlighten
Neem leaf has main axis with leaflets——it is unipinnate
Drek (Melia azederach) main axis divided once to have leaflets on side branches of rachis—it is bipinnate.
Sometimes the side branches are again divided and leaflets are borne on secondary branches of rachis.——-such a leaf if tripinnate.
What do call this variety?
Please see the table showing the differences in these two species.
Thank you … for this very informative link. The Flora of Mah. also mentions sometimes Melia Azedarach Linn. can have tri-pinnate leaves. In your comparison perhaps you should add that the leaves of Melia are also imparipinnate but the apex leaf of Melia is the largest unlike of Neem.
A very unimportant doubt, in the middle of a learned discussion, but hasn’t the first picture been shown upside down?
You have really keen observation. You are right, it is inverted.
Thanks for pointing this out … Attaching the correct one.
Sir in Flora of Mah.by Dr. Almeida Vol I pg 227: Melia composita Willd. Sp.is described.
If you have the flora, kindly copy the key here, so that other differentiating features (in addition to flower colour) are known
Yes Sir quoting flora details from Vol I : “Flowers greenish white, 8 mm long, fragrant, in stellately pubescent, many- flowered branched panicles shorter than the leaves; peduncles long; pedicels short. Calyx stellately tomentose outside, deeply divided; lobes ovate, erect,ciliate. Petals 6 mm long, linear- spathulate, concave, pubescent outside, puberulous within, ciliate. Staminal tube scarcely 6 mm long, slightly expanded at the mouth, 10- toothed ( the teeth bifid), silky puberulous on both surfaces; anthers exserted, pubescent, longer than the teeth. Ovary glabrous 5-celled; style little longer than the staminal tube, overtopped by the apiculate anthers; stigma cylindric, 5- toothed; teeth erect.”
In Flora of India Vol-4 edited by P.K.Hajra, V.J.Nair & P. Daniel (1997)account of Meliaceae is written by S.S. Jain & S.S.R. Bennet. This document (Jain & Bennet, 1997) published by BSI differentiate Melia and Azadirachta as (partially modified here)-
Trees with covering of simple hairs; leaves unipinnate; stigma 3-lobed; drupes 1-seeded; endocarp thin ………………………….. Azadirachta (1 species only)
Trees with dense covering of stellate hairs; leaves 2-3-pinnate; stigma 4-8-lobed; drupes 3-8-seeded; endocarp stony ………………………… Melia ( 2 species)
Species of Melia are differentiated as-
Branchlets slender; flowers lilac, honey- scented; drupes to 2 cm long ……………. M.azedarach
Branchlets stout; flowers white, non scented; drupes 2.5-4 cm long ……………….. M. dubia
Request Id_19062011DS_SN5: Found this tree flowering in Howrah, West Bengal – March 2011. When enquired, it was told as a AkashNeem tree in Bengali (Millingtonia hortensis)- but I have doubt as the flowers do not match.
Yes u r right this is Melia azedarach L. (Persian Lilac)
leaves look different from M. azedarach
Melia azedarach no doubt. march is the high time for the flowering in this tree whereas Millingtonia hortensis, if i am not wrong, will flower somewhere in august September….
this is persian lilac… leaves of which are classically described as “odd pinnate” , so question is was it? from your pics it seems to be… yes… and certainly not Millingtonia hortensis… I forget when it flowers in Bengal..
Type of Melia azedarach L.: Type and protologue of Melia azedarach L. for reference.
Want to know more about “Melia composita” (Malabar Neem Tree): I want to know much about “Melia composita” (Malabar Neem Tree). It is fast Growing and it Gives immense Ecological Balance to the Nature while Giving GOOD Returns to the Grwers. *I want to know more about and I want to Plant these Trees in
There are three different names for Melia composita as below from The Plant List (http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/search?q=Melia+composita)
Which one from above is the Malabar Neem Tree.
SYMBIOSIS 69: Attaching the image of 69th member of the series. In this a Bluethroated
the blue throat is striking..
The fruits of Melia azedarach are poisonous. During winter in North when the tree is leafless fruits are seen hanging from branches and no birds or animals disperse the fruits/seeds.
Trees from Kalatope – Al050612: A flower I really liked from the roadside on the way to Chamba
Location Chamba Highway
Altitude 1200 mts
Habitat roadside (wild?)
Flowering Season April
Height 15-20 mts
Very nice close up.
Nice pictures of Melia azaderach, known as “Dhrek” in our area…the flowering period is now over in plains…
efloraindia: 211111 BRS186: 2 images.
Sharing the images of Melia Azdirachta from Coimbatore.
Location: CODISIA Raod, Coimbatore
Habitat: Urban Road side.
Flower: Oct. 2011
Fruiting Nov. 2011
Yes violet coloured stamenal tube on close observation looks great.
Seen these fruits like berries in Delhi on the 17th of March,12.
Fruits of Melia azedarach?
Experts kindly confirm id.
yes yes this is Melia azedarach ( लिंबारा )
Yes … you are right. It seems you missed the flowers this time. They are very beautiful.
SYMBIOSIS : 97: Attaching an image of the 97th member of the series. In this a Rosering Parakeet is on the fruits of Melia azedarach (Persian Lilac or Bead Tree). This tree is known as Bakain in Hindi and Ghoranim in Bangla.
SYMBIOSIS :102: Attaching an image of the 102nd member of the series. In this a Blue Throated Barbet is on fruits of Bead Tree. This tree is scientifically known as Melia azadirachta. It is commonly known as Persian Lilac. It is Bakain in Hindi and Ghora Nim in Bangla.
The correct name would be Melia azedarach
SYMBIOSIS : 106/107: Attaching images of 106th and 107th members of the series.
106 Redvented Bulbul on the flowers of Eucalyptus.
107 Pied Myna on the friuts of Bead Tree
SYMBIOSIS : 279: Attaching an image of a Male Koel on the fruits of Melia azadarachta. The tree is commonly known as BEAD TREE. It is BAKAIN in Hindi and GHORA-NIM in Bangla.
SYMBIOSIS : 108/109: Attaching images of 108th and 109th member of the series.
108th Redwhiskered Bulbul on Bead Tree
109th Scarlet Sunbird (male) on Bottle Brush.
Melia azedarach L. (accepted name) : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (4)
Location: Balason River, Soureni, Mirik, India
Date: 22 April 2017
Altitude: 2000 ft.
Nepali Name: बकेनु Bakenu / बकाइनो Bakaaino / महानीम Mahaaneem
Melia azedarach L. : 5 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (8)- around 800 kb each.
Location: Nagarkot, Nepal
Date : 2 April 2018
Altitude : 6000 ft.
Melia azedarach ABAPR01/18 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (4)
There are several trees of this Persian Lilac in the lower town of Dharamshala. I have seen this tree aplenty in Delhi with its characteristic fruit hanging in bunches in winters. It was lovely to see it in flower. I photographed a low tree to access the leaves and flowers but there are several large trees as well.
Melia azedarach (Persian Lilac, Bakain and locally Drake)
Id of Fruit – ID 30112019SH1 : 5 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)- 1 mb each.
Fruit for id pl. Saw many leafless trees of this fruit on the way. By any chance Melia azedarach ?
Location -Mandal (Uttarakhand)
Date – November 2019
I think melia azedarach fruit
Thanks … I too thought the same but here in Mumabai, I had never seen leafless trees of Melia azedarach.So was bit unsure.
I think so, yes.
23032020EPT60 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2) – around 550 kb each.
Presenting Melia azadirachta
Location : Javadhu hills, Eastern Ghats
Elevation : 3600 feet
Habitat : Forest roadside
Taken on 12.02.2020
Yes, it is sir, nice pics, With regards.
Yes, it is sir, nice pics,
MS May, 2020/02 Melia sp. for ID : 3 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (1)- 1 mb.
Location : Vaphai, Mizoram
Altitude : ca 1,500 m.
Date : 20-03-2019
Habit : Tree
Habitat : Wild
Melia azedarach ??
For me also it looks like Melia azedarach
I too agree with …