Azadirachta indica

Toona ciliata, Moshi, Tanzania, photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in Moshi, Tanzania, Dec 29, 2013.

flowers 0f Neem, Azadirachta indica, photo © Michael Plagens

From Wikipedia: Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15–20 metres (49–66 ft), rarely to 35–40 m native to tropical Asia, but has been widely planted in Kenya. It is evergreen, but in severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide and spreading. The fairly dense crown is roundish and may reach a diameter of 15–20 metres in old, free-standing specimens. The neem tree is very similar in appearance to its relative, the Chinaberry (Melia azedarach).
The opposite, pinnate leaves are 20–40 cm long, with 20 to 31 medium to dark green, serrate leaflets about 3–8 cm long. The terminal leaflet is often missing. The petioles are short.
The white and fragrant flowers are arranged in more-or-less drooping axillary panicles which are up to 25 cm long. The inflorescences, which branch up to the third degree, bear from 150 to 250 flowers. An individual flower is 5–6 mm long and 8–11 mm wide. Protandrous, bisexual flowers and male flowers exist on the same individual tree.
The fruit is a smooth (glabrous) olive-like drupe which varies in shape from elongate oval to nearly roundish, and when ripe is 1.4–2.8 cm by 1.0–1.5 cm. The fruit skin (exocarp) is thin and the bitter-sweet pulp (mesocarp) is yellowish-white and very fibrous. The mesocarp is 0.3–0.5 cm thick. The white, hard inner shell (endocarp) of the fruit encloses one, rarely two or three, elongated seeds (kernels) having a brown seed coat.

Meliaceae -- Mahogany Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created on 11 February 2014.