Neem ( Azadirachta indica)

The mahogany family ( Meliaceae ), also called chinaberry, are a plant family in the order of the soap tree -like ( Sapindales ). The 48 to 50 genera with about 1400 species are distributed mainly in the tropics.


There are mainly trees and shrubs, but there are also herbaceous plants. The very rarely opposite, usually alternate and spirally arranged leaves are usually composed. The leaflets are arranged opposite to alternate constantly on the rachis. The edges of the leaflets are usually smooth, rarely lobed or serrated. Stipules absent.

They are usually dioecious getrenntgeschlechtig ( dioecious ) or less often monoecious getrenntgeschlechtig ( monoecious ). The flowers are borne in axillary racemes; they usually take the form of thyrsi, they are rarely racemose or ährig. The flowers have a double perianth. The three to six sepals are free or Roehrig grown up cup-shaped. There are usually four or five, rarely three, six, or more petals present. There are usually three to ten or more stamens present; they are usually fused into a tube, with Cedrela Toona and the stamens are free. Two to five, rarely more, carpels are fused to an ovary with one to many ovules per ovary Kammen. The style ends in a disc-shaped to capitate stigma; rarely missing the stylus, so the scar is sitting on the ovary.

As fruits dry berries are formed ( in some Aglaia sect. Aglaia ), fruit capsules or rarely drupes. The seeds are winged or are completely or partially surrounded by a fleshy aril, or Testa Sarko. The endosperm is fleshy or missing.


Among the most important representatives include the American lumber mahogany ( Swietenia macrophylla King), West Indian mahogany ( Swietenia mahogany (L.) Jacq. ), West Indian Zedrele ( Cedrela odorata L.) and Andiroba ( Carapa guianensis Aubl. ). The type of wood Khaya ( Khaya spp.) Is referred to as African Mahogany. Also Sipo Mahogany ( Entandrophragma utile ), Kosipo ( Entandrophragma candollei Harms. ), Sapele ( Entandrophragma cylindricum ) and Tiama ( Entandrophragma angolense ) are known timber species. They are used particularly for veneers and instruments, window, model aircraft and boats, but also in the construction of billiard tables. Also part of the family of the Indian neem tree ( Azadirachta indica) and the Zedrach or pagoda tree (Melia azedarach ). Trade in American Mahogany is limited by CITES. The importation is subject to approval by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.

Systematics and distribution

The Meliaceae family was erected in 1789 by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum, p 263 under the name " Meliae ". Type genus is Melia L.

The family includes 48 to 50 genera with about 1400 species that are mainly distributed in the tropics:

  • Aglaia Lour. , The approximately 120 species are distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia, tropical Australia and the Pacific Islands.
  • Anthocarapa Pierre: The one or two types come from Malaysia's eastern to the western Pacific islands, probably only: Anthocarapa nitidula ( Benth. ) T.D.Penn. ex Mabb. It occurs in Malaysia's, in Australia and the western Pacific islands.
  • Azadirachta excelsa (Jack) M.Jacobs: It occurs in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
  • Neem ( Azadirachta indica A.Juss, Syn. Melia azadirachta L., Antelaea azadirachta (L.) Adelb. )
  • Cabralea canjerana ( Vell. ) Mart. It is distributed in the Neotropics.
  • West Indian Zedrele ( Cedrela odorata L.)
  • Chukrasia tabularis A.Juss. It occurs in Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Cipadessa baccifera ( Roth) Miquel: It occurs in Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
  • Heynea trijuga Roxb.
  • Heynea velutina F.C.How & T.C.Chen
  • Zedrachbaum (Melia azedarach L.)
  • Nymania capensis ( Thunb. ) Lindb. Thrives in Southern Africa this large shrub to small tree in southern Namibia, the Richtersveld, Namaqualand, in the Ceres Karoo Tanqua, in Bushmanland, in Worcester Robertson Karoo and the Little Karoo.
  • Quivisianthe papinae Baill. It comes in Madagascar only in the provinces of Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga and Toliara ago.
  • Pseudobersama mossambicensis ( Sim ) Verdc. It occurs in southern and eastern Africa.
  • Pseudocedrela kotschyi ( Schweinf. ) Harms: It is widespread in tropical Africa.
  • Schmardaea microphylla ( Hook. ) H.Karst. ex Müll.Berol. thrives in the Andes between Venezuela and Peru at altitudes between 1500 and 3000 meters.
  • Soymida febrifuga ( Roxb. ) A.Juss. It occurs in India and Sri Lanka.
  • Sphaerosacme decandra ( wall. ) TDPenn. It occurs in the Himalayas.
  • Synoum glandulosum ( Sm ) A.Juss. It occurs only in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales.
  • Turraeanthus africanus ( Welw. ex C. DC. ) Pellegr. It occurs in tropical Africa.


  • The Meliaceae in APWebsite family. (Sections systematics and description)
  • The Meliaceae family at DELTA. ( Description section )
  • Hua Peng, David J. Mabberley, Caroline M. Pannell, Jennifer M. Edmonds and Bruce Bartholomew: Meliaceae, pp. 111 - text the same online as printed work, In: Wu Zheng -yi, Peter H. Raven, Deyuan Hong (ed. ): Flora of China, Volume 11 - Oxalidaceae through Aceraceae, Science Press and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing and St. Louis, 2008 ISBN 978-1-930723-73-3 (sections systematics and description).