Persian Lilac - Melia azedarach

The "Persian Lilac" as it is sometimes called is a member of the mahogany family native to Asia and Australia. It is a popular ornametal and shade tree that presents itself with uniquely different looks at different seasons. The image above illustrates its beautiful blossoms when it is in flower.

The leaves are simple in shape with an "odd pinate" distribution on the branchlet. Their color is a shiny light green.

The flowers give way to clusters of small tan colors balls that are about 1cm in diameter. These clusters of balls create the second interesting look of this tree when the leaves fall in Autumn leaving only these balls as ornaments.

The balls eventually turn black and fall off about the time that the next years new leaves are forming. I took these pictures in the University of Malaga botanical garden but these trees can be found all over Southern and Central Spain and in fact have gone native is some areas (begun to reproduce on their own).

The pictures above and below illustrate the pleasant form of this tree that makes it attractive as an urban tree for city lanes and parks.

Other names for this tree are White Cedar, Cape Lilac, Chinaberry or Bead Tree


  1. Nice article!But,actually I just wanted to know the major differences between the persian lilac and the Indian Lilac/neem tree bcoz I have a tree in my backyard and I don't know which one it is.I was wondering if I could get a reply or otherwise I would like to know a good website from where I could get my answer.

  2. For the "Neem tree" (Azadirachta indica) try this link...