Botanical name: Azadirachta indica Family: Meliaceae (Neem family)
Synonyms: Melia azadirachta, Antelaea azadirachta
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 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 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. But Neem is far more than a tough tree that grows vigorously in difficult sites. Among its many benefits, the one that is most unusual and immediately practical is the control of farm and household pests.
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