Melia azedarach L.

  • Authority

    Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.

  • Family


  • Scientific Name

    Melia azedarach L.

  • Description

    Species Description - Abundantly naturalized after introduction into the West Indies from Tropical Asia, long ago, and freely spontaneous from seed, this beautiful tree, with much divided, compound leaves, and large, loose clusters of purple flowers, sometimes appears as if it were indigenous, when found in woodlands or thickets. Such occurrence appears to have been the reason for its description as a species different from the Asiatic tree by Swartz, in 1788, but the equivalency of the two has been proven. It is plentiful in Porto Rico, often planted for ornament, and is distributed nearly all over tropical and warm temperate America, ranging north to Bermuda and the south-eastern United States. The wood is weak, soft and coarse-grained. Pasilla is another Spanish name. Melia (a Greek name of the Ash) is a Linnaean genus, with about 15 Asiatic species, the one here illustrated typical. They have alternate, large, compound leaves, the leaflets toothed and stalked, the flowers in large, axillary clusters. The calyx is 5-parted, or 6-parted; the petals are as many as the calyx-segments, narrow and spreading; the stamens are united into a nearly cylindric tube which bears 10 or 12 anthers; the ovary is several-celled, with 2 ovules in eaoh cell; the style is slender, the stigma round, or lobed. The fruit is a small drupe, fleshy, containing a hard stone. Melia Azedarach (Asiatic name) is usually a small tree, about 10 meters high, or much lower, but, exceptionally, may reach 20 meters in height with a trunk up to 2 meters in diameter; the reddish brown bark is furrowed when old. The deciduous, twice compound, smooth, stalked leaves are from 20 to 40 centimeters long; the ovate to elliptic, thin, pointed and toothed, or lobed leaflets are from 3 to 7 centimeters long. The flowers form stalked clusters from 20 to 30 centimeters long, the individual ones on slender stalks from 4 to 10 millimeters long the pointed sepals are about 2 millimeters long, the purplish, oblong, blunt petals about 10 millimeters long. The globose, yellow, smooth fruits are from 15 to 20 millimeters in diameter.

  • Discussion

    La Lila Pride of India Mahogany Family Melia Azedarach Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 384. 1753. Melia sempervirens Swartz, Prodromus Flora Indiae Occidentalis 67.1788.