Neem, Azadirachta indica

Neem (Azadirachta indica, family: Meliaceae) is a hardy quick growing and much branched deciduous tree with grey, vertically fissured, rough bark. The nice looking tree is native to the Indian subcontinent and Myanmar. It can reach a height 30-40 m. 

Common names: Neem, Margosa tree, Indian Lilac.

Leaves are impair-pinnate; leaflets ovate-lanceolate, serrate marginated, oblique at the base, glabrous, acute at apex. Its nice looking blood-red new leaves appear in the summer.

Flowers are small, white and sweet scented in axillary bunch of panicles. Flower blooms in March-April. Neem tree is andromonoecious.

Neem is very important medicinal plant. Its leaves are antiseptic and antipuritic, hence very effective in scabies, itching and other skin diseases.

Brnnches are used as brushes of teeth and cure gum diseases. Recently birth control pills have been made from its seeds. Propagated of the plant is caused by seeds.

The fruit is a drupe. Olive-like fruits are matured in July-August. Fragrant, bitter and one-seeded fruit is yellowish when ripe.

There are many similarities between azadirachta indica and Melia azedarach (Ghora-neem). The prominent one is azadirachta indica, the other one is Melia azedarach.

This fast-growing tree is found everywhere in Bangladesh. Neem is derived from Sanskrit 'Nimba'. The leaf paste is used to cure ulcers and wounds. Smoke from burnt leaves is used to repel mosquitoes. The young branches and flowers of azadirachta indica are edible. 


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