Chinaberry (Melia azedarach
) is a small to medium-sized, oval, rounded or umbrella-shaped deciduous tree. Chinaberry is native to China and Northern India. It was introduced into the United States in the mid-1800s for ornamental purposes and is now found throughout the southeast and hawaii. Chinaberry is drought-tolerant, and often found in disturbed areas, abandoned farm areas, along roadsides and forest edges. It has the potential to grow in dense thickets, restricting the growth of native vegetation.
Appearance of chinaberries parts:
- Height: Up to 50 ft (15 m)
- Width: 15 to 25 ft (4.5 to 8 m)
- Leaf shape: Bipinnately compound
- Leaf color: Dark Green and gold
- Flowers: Clusters of five-petaled lavender flowers develop in panicles during the spring.
- Fruit: Yellow, marble-sized, prolific, stalked berries develop in the summer and remain past leaf fall..
- Bark: Dark brown; fissured; 2 feet diameter.
All parts of chinaberry contain toxic tetranortriterpene neurotoxins and unidentified resins. The berries are the most toxic. Most cases of chinaberry poisonings in horses occur in the fall or winter months, when the berries ripen, and remain on trees after the leaves have fallen. Toxicity occurs when horses consume more than 0.5% of their body weight.