Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Melia azedarach L. (Paraiso, persian lilac)

Nomenclature etc. MELIACEAE. Including. Trade and local names: melia (trade); paraiso (BR, AR, PY); mindi, jempinis, geringging (ID); tamaga (MM); bakainu (NP); bakan, denkan (IN). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka to Burma, or Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia to Indomalesia, or southern Brazil (native to northern India, today widely cultivated in SE-Asia and southern South America).

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Mostly ring-porous, wood from plantations often with extremely wide growth increments up to 2 cm. Heartwood basically light pinkish brown, without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour (sapwood yellowish-white). Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.5–0.65 g/cm³. Wood of commercial potential (only wood from plantations).

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood ring-porous to semi-ring-porous. Vessels arranged in diagonal and/or radial pattern or no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 200–350 µm; diameter of vessel lumina: very large. Average vessel element length 200–350 µm. Average vessel element length short. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 5–7 µm, small, not vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits (slightly smaller). Helical thickenings present, only in narrow vessel elements, throughout the body of vessel elements. Tyloses in vessels absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (dark reddish brown, predominatly in early wood vessels).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thin-walled, or of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 800–1650 µm. Average fibre length medium to long. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Helical thickenings absent. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal) (wide initial bands including most earlywood vessels), bands much wider than rays, coarse, more than three cells wide. Axial parenchyma apotracheal, or paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse (individual strands, mostly crytalliferous). Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric, or confluent (confluent in latewood connecting groups of small vessels). Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 3–6.

Rays. Rays 3–5 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), (2–)4–8 cells wide, of medium width (3–5 seriate) to wide (5–10 seriate). Height of large rays commonly 500 to 1000 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Oil and mucilage cells absent. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

Cambial variants. Included phloem absent. Other cambial variants absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells (sparse) or axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing ray cells procumbent. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Cystoliths absent. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Melia azedarach. • Tangential section. Melia azedarach. • Radial section. Melia azedarach.

The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009.’.