Pride Of China Pride Of India, Or Bead Tree (Melia Azedarach), an oriental tree, now naturalized in most warm countries. The genus melia (from the Greek name for the manna ash, which its foliage somewhat resembles) is the type of a somewhat large and important family (meliacece) of the warmer parts of Asia and America; it consists of deciduous trees and shrubs with pinnate leaves, their flowers with the stamens united into a tube, a free, three- to five-celled ovary, with two ovules in each cell. The pride of India, a native of Asia, is a tree 20 to 40 ft. high, often with a trunk 3 ft. in diameter; its leaves are bi-pinnate, each division with five ovate-lanceolate, acute, toothed leaflets. The flowers are in large axillary bunches, with a small calyx, five spreading lilac-colored petals, and ten stamens, which, united into a tube, form a conspicuous part of the flower. The fruit is an ovoid fleshy berry, about the size of a cherry, containing an elongated, five-celled, five-seeded, bony nut. The tree is largely planted in the southern states, and has become thoroughly naturalized not only there, but in parts of the southwest so far from all settlements that some botanists have thought it must be indigenous.
Its chief claim as an ornamental tree is its rapid growth, it making an ample shade in a short time after planting. It is quito handsome in flower, but the odor is somewhat unpleasant; it bears such an abundance of fruit that the branches are bent down by the weight. The bark of the root has long been used as a vermifuge; a strong decoction of it is made by boiling four ounces in a pint of water; from half an ounce to an ounce of the liquid is given every two hours, and followed by a cathartic. Very conflicting accounts are given of the effects of the berries; three of them are said to have thrown a child into convulsions, while other children eat them with impunity; they are said by some' authorities to be destructive to swine, while some persons gather them to feed to their horses. It seems desirable that experiments should be made to establish the real value of this very common product in most of the southern states. It is said that the leaves or the berries if packed with dried fruits will preserve them from insects, and that they will also prevent moths from attacking clothing. The wood of the tree has a fine grain and a handsomely variegated surface; it is recommended for trunks and drawers, as insects do not attack it.
The tree is not hardy north of Virginia. - Melia Indica, which is much planted in southern India, has been confounded with M. azedarach, from which it differs in its simply pinnate leaves and one-celled and one-seeded fruit. It is known in India as margosa (Port, amargo-sa, bitter), and the bark is there used by both natives and Europeans as a tonic and antiperi-odic. Its fruit yields an oil used for burning.
Pride of India (Melia azedarach).