Synonym(s): Melia azedarach var. umbraculifera
Family: Meliaceae (Mahogany Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Tree
Deciduous tree to 50 feet (15 m) in height and 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, much branched with multiple boles, lacy dark-green leaves having a musky odor, and clusters of lavender flowers in spring yielding persistent, poisonous yellow berries.
Native Lookalikes: Currently no information available, or there are no native species that could be confused with Chinaberry tree.
Ecological Threat: Chinaberry outcompetes native vegetation due to its high relative resistance to insects and pathogens. Its leaf litter raises soil pH, thus altering soil conditions for native plants and seed germination. Chinaberry is a very fast growing tree that reaches 18 - 24 feet in height in 4 - 5 years. May reach 50 - 60 feet in total height.
Biology & Spread: Reproduces on-site primarily from root sprouts, and over longer distances via bird-dispersed seeds. Reproductively mature when it reaches the size of a shrub. Flowers in the spring, fruits in the summer. Fruit remain on the tree past leaf fall.
History: Introduced in the mid-1800s from Asia. Widely planted as a traditional ornamental around homesites. Extracts potentially useful for natural pesticides.
U.S. Habitat: Common on roadsides, at forest margins, and around old homesites but rare at high elevations. Semishade tolerant. Forms colonies from root sprouts or sprouts from root collars, and spreads by bird-dispersed abundant seeds.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: Himalayas (NatureServe Explorer); Asia (Bailey, L.H. and E.Z. Bailey, Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York , (1977).)
U.S. Present: AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, LA, MO, MS, NC, NM, NY, OK, PR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI
Distribution: Located across the entire southern contiguous United States including Texas, plus Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Extends as far north as New York. Present in the Lower Galveston Bay watershed in Harris and Galveston counties.
List All Observations of Melia azedarach reported by Citizen Scientists
The most effective chemical controls are cut-stump and basal bark applications of triclopyr herbicides. Cut trees left untreated will grow back with several branches emanating from a single stump. Removal of seedlings must include the entire root system.USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area (www.galvbayinvasives.org). Lisa Gonzalez and Jeff DallaRosa. Houston Advanced Research Center, 2006.
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USDA Plants: Melia azedarach
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Melia azedarach
Bugwood Network Images: Melia azedarach