China Berry Tree, Melia azedarach, Persian Lilac

Uses : Firewood, Xeriscaping. Native to India.
     This is an extremely fast-growing tree that has naturalized itself all over West Florida. It is much hated by some, because of its fast-growing nature it can and will drop limbs without notice. It is susceptible to rotting from the inside with no visible marks from without. Storms and even children can tumble large limbs down.
     That aside, they aren't all bad. They are extremely underutilized as fast-growing shade trees, which could be quickly providing screen while more permenant, slower growing trees take hold nearby. It is nothing to dig up a young sapling and stick it where you wish in the landscape.
     Another frequently overlooked use is for lumber and firewood. Their live fast die young philosophy makes them ideal for this purpose, perhaps more so than even the native pine trees. More research should be conducted as to whether China Berry trees would make good firebreaks on traditional tree farms.
     The leaves and berries are toxic if eaten in large quantities. Birds snack on the berries but it seems to not be a preferred source of sustenance, so if planning a garden for the wildlife China Berry might not be a great choice.
     The seeds sprout readily in sandy soil much like Cherry Laurel.

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