Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Bead tree, Persian lilac, China berry, China tree, Pride of China, Pride of India, Syringa, Azedarach, White cedar Luganda: Lira Lugbara: Lira.

+ Tree Species

Melia azedarach

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Persian lilac is native to Western Asia, Himalayas. A popular ornamental exotic long planted in the tropics and subtropics. It grows on most soils, both acidic and saline from the coast to 2,000 m. It has been recommended for fuel and pole production in dry areas being drought resistant. It grows well in drier areas of Uganda and is the common tree with foliage during the dry season in Moroto District. Its popular also in Arua District. In Kampala, Persian lilac can be found within Uganda Golf course club, Makerere University, along Acacia avenue, Upper Kololo terrace among other places.

+ Description

A small tree 5-6 m, but can reach 10 m, usually deciduous, with a thin trunk.

BARK: grey, smooth, later rough and brown, branchlets dotted with breathing pores.

LEAVES: bi-pinnate, on branched stalks, to 40 cm long, up to 6 pairs of pinnae and 3-9 leaflets, each one bright shiny green, narrow to 8 cm, the edge irregularly toothed, the tip long and pointed.

FLOWERS: fragrant in large rounded clusters to 25 cm, each flower with 5 pale purple-white petals and a dark purple center.

FRUIT: fleshy yellow-orange, oval to 1.5 cm, persisting on the bare tree. Each fruit contains a stone with 4-6 dark brown seeds inside.

+ Uses

Medicine: leaf juice, leaves, flowers, fresh or dried stem bark, fresh or dried root bark, fruit, seed, and gum. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Melia+azedarach

Edible: leaves are used as a pot-herb, in curries, soups etc., cooling drink is made from the sap. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Melia+azedarach

Agroforestry: can beplanted as a wind break, can be used in reforestation projects to restore native woodland, can be grown as a shade tree in coffee and abaca (Musa textilis) plantations, leaves are lopped for fodder, used in apiculture (bee forage).

The seed contains up to 40% of a drying oil which is used for lighting, varnish etc.

The musk-scented seeds are used as beads in rosaries.

A red dye is obtained from the bark.A fiber obtained from the bark is used to make ropes.

The fruits are source of a flea powder and an insecticide.

The fruit pulp is also used as an insect repellent.  Aqueous and alcoholic extracts of the leaves and seeds can control many insects, mites and nematode pests.

The leaves repel mosquitoes and other insects.

The wood is used for making furniture, packing cases, construction, decorative veneer etc.

It is also used to manufacture agricultural implements, furniture, plywood, boxes, poles, tool handles, cabinet making and in construction because of its resistance to termites.

An ornamental tree.

Provides fuel and can be used to make charcoal.

Provides poles and posts.

+ Propagation

Seeds, wildings, root cuttings.

+ Management

Fairly fast growing; pollarding, lopping, coppicing, pruning

+ Remarks

The berries are extremely poisonous to human beings, livestock and poultry. Leaves are not browsed by livestock. The tree is moderately termite resistant and provides quick shade and building poles. In good conditions, it grows so many suckers that it may become a weedy nuisance. It has insecticidal properties: an infusion of the leaves will control insect attack on vegetables. Melia azedarach is a prolific seeder. Sow the seed in a seed bed then prick out seedling when large enough.

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