China Berry Garden

Beauty at its best.

NATIVE RANGE

Temperate and tropical Asia (China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea) and Australia, and the Solomon Islands


DESCRIPTION

Chinaberry, also called pride-of-India, umbrella-tree, and Persian lilac, is a fast-growing tree that can grow to 50 feet tall.  Its twigs are slightly purple with light-brown spots (lenticels).  The leaves are large (up to 2 ft. long), blue-green, with long stalks (petioles), and doubly compound (i.e., divided twice into smaller leaflets).  Individual leaflets are toothed and pointed.  The leaves turn golden-yellow in the fall.  Flowers are small but showy, appearing in clusters at the end of branches in early spring.  Each flower has five narrow pink petals surrounding a central purple-red tube. Fruits are round yellow berries, which mature into brown leathery seed capsules

China Berry History

Chinaberry was introduced into the continental

United States at Charleston, South Carolina, during

the last quarter of the 18th century.

Extracts from the leaves and bark have been used medicinally.

The chinaberry tree flowers from March to early May depending on the local environment and the weather. The flowers are small and vary in color from lavender to white. A chinaberry tree's flowers grow singly, rather than in clusters. The flowers wilt and drop off in late May and are replaced in June by yellow-green clusters of berries, which ripen throughout the summer and fall. The fruit and seeds of the chinaberry tree are poisonous to humans, domestic animals, and livestock if eaten. In addition, pets and livestock may be poisoned if they eat the leaves or bark of the chinaberry tree.

Background

History

Side Note

Chinaberry may be confused with a native shrub, common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis). When in flower or fruit the two species may be distinguished by the color of those features; elderberry exhibits white flowers and dark-purple berries.s.

Chinaberry may be confused with a native shrub, common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis). When in flower or fruit the two species may be distinguished by the color of those features; elderberry exhibits white flowers and dark-purple berries.s.