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Neem tree (Azadirachta indica)

Neem tree ( Azadirachta indica )

Nuclear eudicotyledons
Eurosiden II
Order : Sapindales (Sapindales)
Family : Mahogany
Scientific name

The mahogany family (Meliaceae), also known as the cedar family , are a family of plants in the order of the soap tree-like (Sapindales). The 48 to 50 genera with around 1400 species are mainly found in the tropics.


Illustration from Plants of the coast of Coromandel Coast Tamil Nadu Andhra Pradesh India Flora Fruits Flowers by Soymida febrifuga

Vegetative characteristics

There are mainly trees and bushes , but there are also herbaceous plants .

Very rarely opposite, usually alternate and spirally arranged leaves are usually composed. The leaflets are arranged opposite to alternate on the leaf hachis. The edges of the leaflets are mostly smooth, rarely lobed or serrated. Stipules are missing.

Generative characteristics

They are mostly dioeciously separated sexes ( diocese ) or less often single sexually separated sexes ( monoecious ). The flowers are arranged in lateral inflorescences ; mostly they are in the form of thyrses , rarely they are grape or spiky .

The unisexual flowers have a double perianth (perianth). The three to six sepals are free or tubular to cup-shaped fused. 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 mostly fused into a tube, with Cedrela and Toona the stamens are free. Two to five, seldom more carpels have become an ovary grown into one to many ovules per ovary Kammen. The stylus ends in a disc-shaped to head-shaped scar; The stylus is seldom missing, so the stigma sits on the ovary.

The fruits are dry berries (with some Aglaia sect. Aglaia ), capsule fruits or rarely stone fruits . The seeds are winged or are completely or partially surrounded by a fleshy aril or sarcotesta . The endosperm is fleshy or absent.

Systematics and distribution

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

The Meliaceae family is divided into two subfamilies and a tribe.

The Meliaceae family comprises 48 to 50 genera with around 700 species, which are mainly found in the tropics:

Foliage leaves and fruits of Aphanamixis polystachya
Foliage leaves and fruits of Cabralea canjerana
Foliage leaf and fruits of Ekebergia capensis
Nymania capensis fruits
Flowers of Synoum glandulosum
Trichilia emetica flower
Flowers of Turraea pubescens
  • Aglaia Lour. sl (Syn .: Lansium Corrêa , Reinwardtiodendron Koord. ): The approximately 127 species are distributed in tropical to subtropical Asia, in tropical Australia and on the Pacific islands.
  • Anthocarapa Pierre : One or two species occur from eastern Malesia to the western Pacific islands, probably only:
    • Anthocarapa nitidula (Benth.) TDPenn. ex Mabb. : It occurs in Malesia, Australia and the western Pacific islands.
  • Aphanamixis flower p. str .: The three or so species occur in tropical Asia and on the Pacific islands. It will probably be expanded by two types.
  • Astrotrichilia (Harms) TDPenn. & Styles : It contains about twelve species only found in Madagascar.
  • Azadirachta A. Juss. : It contains only two types:
  • Cabralea A. Juss. (It is being discussed to expand it by up to eight Dysoxylum species.): It contains p. st. only one type:
  • Calodecaryia J.-F.Leroy : The only two species occur only in Madagascar.
  • Capuronianthus J.-F.Leroy : The only two species occur in Madagascar.
  • Carapa Aubl. : The only two to three species are common in the Neotropic.
  • Cedrela P.Browne : The approximately nine species are distributed in the Neotropic, the center of biodiversity is the Andes. For example:
  • Chisocheton flower : The approximately 53 species occur in tropical Asia and on the western Pacific islands.
  • Chukrasia A.Juss. : It contains only one type:
    • Chukrasia tabularis A. Juss. : It occurs in Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Cipadessa flower : it contains only one species:
    • Cipadessa baccifera (Roth) Miq. : It occurs in Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, southern China, Indonesia, Malay Peninsula and in northern Sumatra and southwestern Borneo.
  • Dysoxylum flower : The 70 to 80 species are distributed in tropical Asia in tropical and subtropical Australia, New Zealand and on the Pacific islands. There are 14 species in Australia, three of them only there. There are eleven species in China, one of which is only there. The scope of this genus is still controversial.
  • Ekebergia Sparrm. : The only three species come from tropical to southern Africa (from Senegal to South Africa ).
  • Entandrophragma C.DC. : The elevenor sospecies are distributed in Africa from Sierra Leone to South Africa.
  • Guarea F. Allam. : The approximately 69 species are distributed in the Neotropic from northwest Mexico via Central America and the Caribbean islands to northern Argentina.
  • Heckeldora Pierre : The seven or so species are distributed from West to Central Africa. Most of the species occur in southwestern Cameroon (4 species) and western Gabon (3 species).
  • Heynea Roxb. ex Sims : The only two species occur in Sikkim , in southern India, on the Nicobar Islands , in southern China, in Indochina , on the Malay Peninsula, on Sumatra, Borneo and in the Philippines .
  • Humbertioturraea J.-F.Leroy : The six to eleven species occur only in Madagascar.
  • Khaya A. Juss. : Of the approximately eight species, seven are found in tropical Africa and one in Madagascar and the Comoros.
  • Leplaea Vermoesen : Six of the seven species were contained in Guarea. They are distributed from West to Central Africa from Sierra Leone to Uganda . For example:
  • Lepidotrichilia (Harms) J.-F.Leroy : Of the three or four species, three (or only two) occur only in Madagascar and one in East Africa (from Ethiopia to Malawi ).
  • Lovoa Harms : Of the two species, one occurs in East Africa and the other in West Africa .
  • Malleastrum (Baill.) J.-F.Leroy : The approximately 23 species occur in Madagascar, the Comoros and Aldabra .
  • Melia L .: There are only two species left in tropical East Africa and tropical to temperate Asia from India to the Himalayas and in Australia and the Solomon Islands , for example:
  • Munronia Wight : The fiveor sospecies are distributed from India to Sri Lanka to Timor .
  • Naregamia Wight & Arn. : Of the two more species, one is endemic to the Indian Western Ghats and the other occurs only in Angola .
  • Neobeguea J.-F.Leroy : The three or so species only occur in Madagascar.
  • Neoguarea (Harms) EJMKoenen & JJ de Wilde : It contains only one species:
    • Neoguarea glomerulata (Harms) EJMKoenen & JJ de Wilde (it used to belong to Guarea ): It occurs in Central Africa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Nymania Lindb. (Syn .: Aitonia Thunb. , Aytonia L. f. Orth. Var.): It contains only one species:
  • Owenia F. Muell. : The approximately five species occur only in northern Australia.
    • Owenia acidula F. Muell. : From northern to eastern and all of western Australia.
  • Quivisianthe Baill. : The only two species occur only in Madagascar.
  • Pseudocedrela Harms : It contains only one species:
  • Pseudoclausena T.P. Clark : It contains only one species:
  • Ruagea H. Karst. : The seven or so species thrive in mountain forests mainly in the Andes between Guatemala and Peru.
  • Sandoricum Cav. : All five species occur on Borneo, three of them only there, the others also occur in Thailand, on the Malay Peninsula, on Sumatra, in the Philippines and in New Guinea.
  • Schmardaea H. Karst. : It contains only one type:
  • Soymida A. Juss. : It contains only one type:
  • Sphaerosacme Wall. ex M. Roem. : It contains only one type:
  • Swietenia Jacq. : The three types occur only in the Neotropic .
  • Synoum A. Juss. : It contains only one type:
    • Synoum glandulosum (Sm.) A. Juss. : It occurs only on the eastern coast of Australia in Queensland and New South Wales.
  • Toona (Endl.) M. Roem. : The four to five species occur from eastern Pakistan to China, in Southeast Asia , in Malesia , in New Britain and eastern Australia.
  • Trichilia P.Browne (Syn .: Pterorhachis Harms , Pseudobersama Verdc. ): The approximately 107 species are distributed in the Neotropics (81 species), in tropical Africa (20 species) and Madagascar (4 species).
  • Turraea L. (Syn .: Calodecaryia J.-F.Leroy , Calodryum Desv. , Gilibertia J.F.Gmel. , Ginnania M.Roem. , Grevellina Baill. , Humbertioturraea J.-F.Leroy , Nelanaregam Adans. , Nurmonia Harms , Payeria Baill. , Quivisia Cav. , Rutea M.Roem. , Scyphostigma M.Roem. ): The approximately 73 species are found in tropical Africa, Madagascar (around 19 species, 17 of them only there, around 16 species are not yet described), Mascarene (around 43 species) and Mauritius, on Socotra , in Yemen (around 30 species) and Asia to Australasia (only one species).
  • Turraeanthus Baill. : The roughly three species are distributed from West to Central Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola and Uganda, including:
    • Turraeanthus africana (Welw. Ex C.DC.) Pellegr. (Syn .: Bingeria africana A.Chev. , Guarea africana Welw. , Guarea africana Welw. Ex C.DC. , Turraeanthus malchairi De Wild. , Turraeanthus vignei Hutch. & Dalziel , Turraeanthus zenkeri Harms ): It is widespread in tropical Africa .
  • Vavaea Benth. : Of the four or so species, one is distributed in the Philippines from Sumatra to the western Pacific islands of Tonga and Yap . Two species are unique to Papua New Guinea and one is endemic to Fiji .
  • Walsura Roxb. : The approximately 16 species are distributed from Assam , via Sri Lanka and the Andamans to the Vogelkop Peninsula in western New Guinea. The center of biodiversity is Borneo with seven species, six of which are only found there.
  • Xylocarpus J.Koenig : The three or so species occur in tropical East Africa, tropical Asia and on the western Pacific islands.
High gloss lacquered mahogany veneer


The most important types of timber include American mahogany ( Swietenia macrophylla King), West Indian mahogany ( Swietenia mahagoni (L.) Jacq.), West Indian cedar ( Cedrela odorata L.) and Andiroba ( Carapa guianensis Aubl.). The trade in American mahogany is restricted by the Washington Convention on Endangered Species . The import requires the approval of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation .

The wood type Khaya ( Khaya spec.) Is known as African mahogany . Also Sipo ( Entandrophragma utile ) Kosipo ( Entandrophragma candollei Harms), Sapele ( Sapele ) and Tiama ( Entandrophragma angolense ) are known timber species. They are used especially for veneers and in building instruments, windows, model aircraft and boats, but also in building billiard tables.


Individual evidence

  1. a b c Hua Peng, David J. Mabberley, Caroline M. Pannell, Jennifer M. Edmonds, Bruce Bartholomew: In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven, Deyuan Hong (eds.): 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 . Meliaceae , p. 111 - online with the same text as the printed work
  2. First publication scanned at .
  3. Meliaceae at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  4. Alexandra N. Muellner, Rosabelle Samuel, Mark W. Chase, Annette Coleman, Tod F. Stuessy: An Evaluation of Tribes and Generic Relationships in Melioideae (Meliaceae) Based on Nuclear ITS Ribosomal DNA. In: Taxon , Volume 57, Issue 1, 2008, pp. 98-10. doi : 10.2307 / 25065951 JSTOR 25065951
  5. Meliaceae in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd Michael Heads: Biogeography and ecology in a pantropical family, the Meliaceae. In: Gardens' Bulletin Singapore , Volume 71, Suppl. 2, September 2019, pp. 335-461. doi : 10.26492 / gbs71 (suppl. 2). 2019-22 full text PDF.
  7. ^ A b c d e f MJ Taylor, GJ Harden: The Meliaceae Family at the New South Wales Flora Online .
  8. a b c d e f g Meliaceae in the Catalog of the Vascular Plants of Madagascar - last update from May 22, 2012.
  9. ^ A b c David John Mabberley: Mabberley's Plant-Book. A portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. 3rd edition, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4 . Google Books online.
  10. ^ Ian Oliver, 2005: Nymania capensis at PlantzAfrica .

Web links

Commons : Mahogany (Meliaceae)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Mahogany  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations