Azadirachta indica

Azadirachta indica A. Juss.

Family       : Meliaceae

Common Name : ആര്യവേപ്പ്  (Mal)

: नीम  (Hin)

: Neem (Eng)

IUCN Status : Least concern (LC) -

Neem is native to India and Burma. It is the state tree of Andhra Pradesh. Neem is a fast growing tree that can reach a height of 15-20 m, rarely to 35-40 m. It is evergreen but under severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide spread. The fairly dense crown is roundish or oval and may reach the diameter of 15-20 m in old, free-standing specimens. The trunk is relatively short, straight and may reach a diameter of 1.2 m. The bark is hard, fissured or scaly, and whitish-grey to reddish-brown. The sapwood is greyish-white and the heartwood reddish when first exposed to the air becoming reddish-brown after exposure. The root system consists of a strong taproot and well developed lateral roots. The alternate, pinnate leaves are 20-40 cm long, with 20-31 medium to dark green leaflets about 3-8 cm long. The shape of mature leaflets is more or less asymmetric and their margins are serrated. The flowers (white and fragrant) are arranged axillary, normally more-or-less drooping panicles which are up to 25 cm long. The inflorescences, which branch up to the third degree, bear 150-250 flowers. An individual flower is 5-6 mm long and 8-11 mm wide.The fruit is a glabrous olive-like drupe which varies in shape from elongate oval to nearly roundish, and when ripe are 1.4-2.8 x 1.0-1.5 cm. 

Evergreen trees, to 20 m; bark greyish-brown, vertically striated. Leaves imparipinnate, alternate; rachis 14-30 cm long, slender, leaflets 7-15, opposite or subopposite, 4.5-7.5 x 1.5-2.5 cm, lanceolate or falcate, base oblique, apex acuminate, margin serrate, glabrous; lateral nerves 10-18 pairs, pinnate, slender; petiolule 3-5 mm long, slender. Flowers bisexual, 8 mm across, white, in axillary panicles; bracteoles scaly; pedicel 5 mm. Sepals 5, connate at base, ovate, margin ciliate. Petals 5, free, white, oblong-obovate, pubescent, spreading, imbricate. Staminal tube 4 mm long, glabrous, apically 10 lobed; lobes truncate; anthers 10, slightly exserted, apiculate, sessile. Ovary globose, 3-celled; ovules 2 per cell; style slender, elongate; stigma terete, 3-lobed. Fruit a drupe, 1.5 x 0.5 cm, oblong-ovoid, greenish-yellow; seed one, surrounded by a sweet pulp.

Use: The oil from the seed is also used in some pesticides. Oil cake is a good cattle feed, manure, insecticide and nematicide. The twigs of the tree used as tooth brush by some people. Decoction of the bark is used as a tonic. Tender leaves are used to treat scabies. Oil is extracted from the seeds and is used to treat debility after child birth. Leaf paste with black pepper is given once a day for one month for the treatment of diabetes. Leaf extract and seed-oil have shown hypoglycemicactivity.


Distribution :  Indo-Malesia, widely cultivated.

Flowering & Fruiting :  February-September