Melia azedarach

Photo: Amadej Trnkoczy

Synonyms: Melia australasica, Melia bukayun, Melia composita, Melia japonica, Melia sempervirens, Melia toosendan

Common names: Chinaberry tree, Pride of India, bead-tree, Cape-lilac, syringaberry tree, Persian lilac, Indian lilac, white cedar

Chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach) is a perennial tree (family Meliaceae) that is generally found in disturbed areas, road edges, and openings in forests or thickets. It is native to China, Japan, the Indian sub-continent, south-eastern Asia and large parts of northern and eastern Australia. Chinaberry tree has historically been used as an ornamental plant, as a shade tree, and for firewood. It can grow as a single-stemmed tree up to 50 feet tall. The deciduous leaves can grow up to 2 feet long, are arranged alternately along the stem, and bipinnately compound and toothed. Flowers are pink to purple (often lilac colored) and arranged in numerous small clusters that bloom in spring. Chinaberry produces numerous yellow to yellow-green wrinkly drupe fruits that are about 0.4-0.5 inches in diameter. It thrives under a large variety of environmental climates and soils and releases compounds in its leaves and roots that inhibit the growth of other plants, resulting in large bare patches around trees. Chinaberry fruits are dispersed through wildlife and via waterways. This plant is poisonous to humans, livestock, and mammals if ingested.

Cal-IPC Rating: Watch

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Risk Assessment - An evaluation of the potential for a plant to be invasive in California.

Weed Management Notes

No Weed RIC Management Notes are available for this species. Check for information on other species in the genus on the Weed RIC site.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

There are no newsletter articles associated with this species yet.

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

There are no Symposium presentations associated with this species yet.

Other Melia azedarach Information

  • Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.
  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • GBIF - Global distribution information.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • The Plant List - Global taxonomic resource and collaborative clearinghouse from Kew Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Missouri Botanic Garden and others.
  • Additional photos

    Melia azedarach_flowers_AmadejTrnkoczy
    Melia azedarach (Chinaberry tree) flowers. Photo: Amadej Trnkoczy
    Melia azedarach_leaves and young fruits_AmadejTrnkoczy
    Melia azedarach (Chinaberry tree) leaves and young fruits. Photo: Amadej Trnkoczy
    Melia azedarach_fruits_ZoyaAkulova
    Melia azedarach (Chinaberry tree) fruits. Photo: Zoya Akulova
    Melia azedarach_seedling_ZoyaAkulova
    Melia azedarach (Chinaberry tree) seedling. Photo: Zoya Akulova
    Melia azedarach_growth habit_ZoyaAkulova
    Melia azedarach (Chinaberry tree) growth habit. Photo: Zoya Akulova