Toxic Parts:
berries, all
terpenes, meliatoxins
Flower Color:
  • flower color
woodlands, ornamental

Time of Greatest Risk


Geographical Distribution

Chinaberry distribution - United States


Melia azedarach

Bead Tree, Paradise Tree, Persian Lilac, Pride-of-india,Texas Umbrella Tree, White Cedar
6/ 10
Chinaberry (Melia azedarach) is a small to medium-sized, oval, rounded or umbrella-shaped deciduous tree. Chinaberry is native to China and Northern India. It was introduced into the United States in the mid-1800s for ornamental purposes and is now found throughout the southeast and hawaii. Chinaberry is drought-tolerant, and often found in disturbed areas, abandoned farm areas, along roadsides and forest edges. It has the potential to grow in dense thickets, restricting the growth of native vegetation.

Chinaberry Toxic Components

All parts of chinaberry contain toxic tetranortriterpene neurotoxins and unidentified resins. The berries are the most toxic. Most cases of chinaberry poisonings in horses occur in the fall or winter months, when the berries ripen, and remain on trees after the leaves have fallen. Toxicity occurs when horses consume more than 0.5% of their body weight.

What Chinaberry Looks Like

  • Height: Up to 50 ft (15 m)
  • Width: 15 to 25 ft (4.5 to 8 m)
  • Leaf shape: Bipinnately compound
  • Leaf color: Dark Green and gold
  • Flowers: Clusters of five-petaled lavender flowers develop in panicles during the spring.
  • Fruit: Yellow, marble-sized, prolific, stalked berries develop in the summer and remain past leaf fall..
  • Bark: Dark brown; fissured; 2 feet diameter.


  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersalivation
  • Colic
  • Incoordination
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Death


For control of full grown trees: Anytime other than the spring months, using dilutions and cut-spacings specified on the herbicide label make stem injections using Arsenal AC* or Pathway*, or when safety to surrounding vegetation is desired, Garlon 3A.

For control of saplings: Apply a basal spray of Garlon 4 as a 10- to 20-percent solution (2 to 5 pints per 3-gallon mix) or Stalker* as a 3-percent solution (12 ounces per 3-gallon mix) plus Garlon 4 as a 15-percent solution (3.5 pints per 3-gallon mix) mixed in a labeled basal oil product, vegetable oil or mineral oil with a penetrant, or fuel oil or diesel fuel (where permitted).