Melia azedarach (China Berry, Bead tree) is a deciduous tree belonging to the Meliaceae family. Native to parts of Asia, including China and India, it is widely cultivated for its ornamental value. Description: The China Berry tree is a medium-sized tree that typically grows to a height of 30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 meters). It has a rounded crown and a relatively short trunk. The tree produces a dense canopy of compound leaves.
Leaves: The leaves of the China Berry tree are alternate and pinnately compound. Each leaf consists of several oval or lance-shaped leaflets, usually around 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) long. The leaflets have serrated edges and a glossy green color.
Flowers: In late spring or early summer, the China Berry tree produces clusters of small, fragrant flowers. The flowers are typically lavender or lilac in color and have five petals. They are attractive to bees and other pollinators.
Fruits: Following the flowering period, the tree produces small, spherical fruits that resemble berries. These fruits are initially green, but as they mature, they turn yellowish or orange. Inside each fruit, there is a hard seed surrounded by a pulpy coating. The fruits persist on the tree into the winter.
Toxicity: It is important to note that all parts of the China Berry tree, including the fruits, bark, and leaves, contain toxic compounds. Ingestion of these parts can be harmful to humans and animals. Caution should be exercised when planting it in areas accessible to children or pets.
Landscape Use: The China Berry tree is often planted as an ornamental tree in gardens, parks, and along streets. It is valued for its attractive foliage, fragrant flowers, and persistent fruits, which provide visual interest. However, due to its potential toxicity, it is important to consider the location and potential risks when planting it.
Overall, Melia azedarach, or the China Berry tree, is an ornamental tree appreciated for its attractive foliage, fragrant flowers, and persistent fruits.