Melia azedarach

tree of the family Méliaceae
(Cedrela, Chinaberry).

Etymology: it is also called "Lilac of India" because of its purple flowers. But the name "lilac of India" is also given to Crepe myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica.
Origin: Tropical Asia, frequent in Southern Europe.
Habitat: hot countries (seldom in the North of France). A nice plant is in the garden of Champs-Élysées, in Paris, one other smaller, in the small public garden of La Muette.
Bark: brown, purple, deeply cracked vertically, showing the flaxen sap-wood.
Deciduous foliage: twice-pinnate leaves, pointed, slightly toothed leaflets (they resemble those of the varnish tree a bit).
Flowers: violets, in bunch, odorous, in May.
Fruits: brown berries, toxic for the man, but edible for birds.

Uses: the sap has antiseptic properties; the stones of the fruits serve for making rosaries.


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