Forest 5 - White cedar ‘Caroline’ (Australian native)

Melia azedarach

Flowers of Melia azedarach 'Caroline' in Forest 5 Fruits of Melia azedarach 'Caroline' in Forest 5

Other common names

Persian Lilac, Chinaberry, Umbrella tree, Bead tree, Cape lilac. Bengali: ghoda neem

Origin of the species name

Melia is the Greek name for the ash tree and is used in allusion to the similarity of the leaves; azedarach is from the name of an ancient poisonous tree, Azadaracht.'Caroline' is the cultivar name for a new Australian selection of Melia with few seeds.



Date Planted

July 2012

Melia azedarach 'Caroline' tree. Photo taken offsite to show how the mature tree will look.

General description

This is a small deciduous or semi ever-green tree with a rounded crown. The compound leaves have dark green leaflets with serrated margins. The small flowers have pale purple and white petals and often grow in clusters. The fruit is round, fleshy and yellow when mature. The 'Caroline' cultivar has been chosen because it produces little fruit. Height 12m. Spread 6m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to Australia, South East Asia and South Asia. It is typically found in monsoon forests and drier, more seasonal rain forest.

Conservation status

It is not classified as a threatened species.


It produces a useful, soft general purpose timber and parts of the tree are used medicinally, especially in India where is occurs naturally. All parts of the tree, but particularly the inner bark, have been used against intestinal worms and the stem bark material of this species was active against some tumours. The fruit is toxic to humans and stock, though birds aren't adversely affected.

Planting pattern

Parallel lines at different angles.

Further reading