From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Melia azedarach
Chinaberry family (Meliaceae)

Post-Cook introduction

Chinaberry, or pride-of-India, is a popular ornamental tree planted for its showy cluster of pale purplish fiveparted spreading flowers and for the shade of its dense dark green foliage. It is further characterized by the leaves with long-pointed saw- and pungent odor when crushed, and by the clusters of nearly round golden yellow poisonous berries conspicuous when leafless.

©2006 John R. Gwaltney, Southeastern Flora
This is a small to medium-sized tree often becoming 20–50 ft (6–15 ) tall and 1–2 ft (0.3–0.6 ) in trunk diameter, with crowded, abruptly spreading branches forming a hemispherical or flattened Bark dark or reddish brown, smoothish, becoming furrowed. Inner bark is whitish, slightly bitter and astringent. Twigs green, hairless or nearly so.

Leaves 8–16 inches (20–40 ) or more in length, or partly numerous short-stalked, paired along slender green branches of leaf axis but single at ends, lance-shaped to 1–2 inches (2.5–5 ) long and 3⁄8–3⁄4 inch (1–2 ) wide, short-pointed and mostly one-sided at base, thin, hairless or nearly so, dark green on upper surface, and paler beneath.

Flower clusters () 4–10 inches (10-25 ) long at leaf bases, long-stalked and branched. Flowers showy fragrant, numerous on slender stalks, about 3⁄8 inch (10 ) long and 5⁄8–3⁄4 inch (15–19 ) wide. of 5 greenish 1⁄16 inch (1.5 ) long; 5 pale purplish or lilac-colored petals 3⁄8 inch (10 ) long, narrow, spreading and slightly turned back; usually 10 on narrow violet tube of 5⁄16 inch (8 ); and pale green 5⁄16 inch (8 ) long with at base, 3–6 celled and long

or berries () about 5⁄8 inch (15 ) in diameter, smooth, but becoming a little shriveled, slightly fleshy. Stone hard, containing five or fewer narrow dark brown seeds 5⁄16 inch (8 ) long. These are bitter, with poisonous or narcotic properties. Flowering from March to June in Hawaii, the old slightly wrinkled yellow are generally present.

Sapwood yellowish white, heartwood light brown to reddish brown and attractively marked. Wood is moderately soft, weak and brittle, and very susceptible to attack by drywood termites. Uses of the wood elsewhere include tool handles, cabinets, furniture, and cigar boxes. It has not been used in Hawaii.

Extensively planted around the world for ornament and shade. This attractive tree is easily propagated from seeds, cuttings, and sprouts from stumps. It grows rapidly but is short-lived, and the brittle limbs are easily broken by the wind.

This species is poisonous, at least in some pans, and has insecticidal properties. Leaves and dried have been used to protect stored clothing and other articles against insects. Various pans of the tree, including flowers, leaves, bark, and roots, have been employed medicinally in different countries. The berries are toxic to animals and have killed pigs, though cattle and birds reportedly eat the An oil suitable for illumination was extracted experimentally from the berries. The hard, angular, bony centers of the when removed by boiling, are dyed and strung as beads. In parts of Asia this is a sacred tree.

Commonly cultivated and naturalized through the Hawaiian Islands in lowlands. It is reported to be hardy up to 9000 ft (2743 ) altitude, especially in uplands of Kauai, Maul, and Hawaii. Birds apparently have spread the Introduced into Hawaii about 1839, according to Degener. It may be seen commonly along the roads of the Kona District of Hawaii and near Ulupalakua Ranch on Maui.

Special areas
Waimea Arboretum, Tantalus

Height 75 ft (22.9 ), c.b.h. 18.5 ft (5.6 ), spread 96 ft (29.3 ). Koahe, South Kona, Hawaii (1967).

Native of southern Asia, probably from Iran and Himalaya to China, but cultivated and naturalized in tropical and warm temperate regions of the world. Widely planted and escaped and naturalized locally in southeastern continental United States, California, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands.

Other common names
’inia, ‘ilinia (Hawaii); chinatree, umbrella-tree, umbrella chinaberry, Indian-lilac, Persian lilac, beadtree; alelaila, lilaila, pasilla (Puerto Rico); lilac (Virgin Islands); paraiso (Spanish); lelah (Pohnpei).

Umbrella chinaberry, or Texas umbrella-tree, is a horticultural variety with a compact of erect radiating branches and drooping foliage. The Hawaiian name ‘inia is a corruption of the word India, according to Degener.

stamen -- the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower; The stamen consists of an anther supported by a filament.

style -- This is a long and thread-like structure that connects the stigma with the ovary. A flower may have a single style, or several of them.

cm -- A centimeter which is about 0.4 inches.

mm -- millimeter. About 1/25th of an inch.

drupe -- A fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a hardened shell containing a seed. A peach is a drupe. A raspberry is composed of drupelets.

alternate -- leaves alternate along the main stem and are attached singly.

ovate -- Oval, egg-shaped, with a tapering point.

deciduous plants are those that lose all of their leaves for part of the year.

m -- A meter is about 10% larger than a yard.

An ovary is a part of the female reproductive organ of the flower. Above the ovary is the style and the stigma, which is where the pollen lands and germinates to grow down through the style to the ovary.

Like the teeth on a saw, leaves and other surfaces can have toothed edges.

calyx -- the sepals of a flower, typically forming a whorl that encloses the petals and forms a protective layer around a flower in bud.

Usually green, sepals typically function as protection for the flower in bud, and often as support for the petals when in bloom.

A panicle is a much-branched inflorescence. The bottom flowers in a panicle open first.

tripinnate - Pinnately compound in which each leaflet is itself bipinnate.

fruit -- any seed-bearing structure in flowering plants. It is formed from the ovary after flowering.

canopy -- The foliage of a tree; the crown. Also the upper layer of a forest.

disc flowers are those in the center of a sunflower or daisy. Not a ray flower.

A pistil is the female structure of many flowers. It contains one or more carpels. Each carpel contins an ovary, style and stigma. The stigma receives the pollen which grows thru the style to reach the ovary.

leaflets -- Each little leaf-like thing in a compound leaf is a leaflet.

Bipinnate -- A compound leaf with two rows of leaflets where those leaflets are again compound with two rows of leafelets.