Azadirachta indica (syn. Melia azadirachta) Meliaceae
Neem, Margosa Tree a-za-DI-rek-ta(?) IN-di-ka
- Broadleaf, semi-evergreen, subtropical tree to 50 ft (15 m) tall, with glabrous, spreading branches.
Bark deeply fissured and flaking in old trees, dark gray outside and reddish inside. Leaves
alternate, compound, pinnate, to 40 cm long, 8-19 leaflets, each 3-7 cm long and 1-3 cm wide, ovate,
uneven sided (asymmetric), margin toothed (often dentate), leaflet sometime lobed. Flowers white, small, sweet-scented,
in 15-25 cm long axillary clusters, petals 6 mm long. Fruit olive-like drupe, 1.5-2 cm long, greenish-
yellow to purple, ripen in about 12 weeks from anthesis, usually 1-seeded, seed ovoid or spherical, apex
- Sun or partial shade. Reportedly prefers deep, permeable, sandy soils in sub-arid and
sub-humid areas with tropical and subtropical climates.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 10(subtropical) Native to India and China, cultivated and naturalized through-out
India, Malaysia and Pakistan.
- Neem has been promoted in several regions as a potentially valuable new crop, mainly as a source of
azadirachtin, an insecticide that can be extracted from its seeds and leaves. However, neem has
escaped cultivation to become naturalised at numerous locations, including Australia, India, Ghana, Kenya,
Fiji and Puerto Rico.
- Azadirachta: apparently derived from the Persian 'azad darakht' meaning 'nobel tree".
indica of India.