Melia azedarach     
Chinaberry tree   
Meliaceae Family     

Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.


Form: large round tree; crown shape varies
Seasonality: deciduous
Size: 30-40ft with equal spread; very fast growth rate
Leaves: dark green, bipinnately compound; leaflets 1-2in long, leaf overall 2-3ft long; oval coming to point on end; degree of serration varies; yellow color in fall (see notes)
Flowers: large panicle of purple flowers; aromatic (like grape kool-aide); bloom in spring
Fruit: very hard marble-sized round fruit; yellow; dangerous underfoot
Stems/Trunks: notoriously weak-wooded; branch angles are also weak; branches break in wind or split for no apparent reason
Chinaberry leaves
foliage and developing fruit
on Melia azedarach
Range/Origin: north India and western China
Hardiness: low teens or better




Fall color is only seen in regions with gradual temperature changes. In Tucson, in some years the change to cold season temperatures occurs too abruptly, and the leaves drop without ever turning yellow.

An old-fashioned landscape plant, not much in demand currently.

var. 'Texas umbrella' has a more rounded canopy

fruit is mildly toxic to humans but enjoyed by birds

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This page was first created July 6, 2001 and last modified July 4, 2004.

Web page design and photographs by Toni Moore, Master Gardener
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