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Neem – Azadirachta indica

Habit: Shady tree that grows to 15m. It has yellow fruits and lots of small white flowers.

Spread: People have planted lots around towns and helped it to spread. Birds and mammals eat the fruits and spread the seed.

Neem & Poinciana

Neem trees are fast becoming pests in both the west and the east Kimberley. In the past, this tree has been recommended and utilised as a good shade tree. Many towns and communities have continued to assist their spread by planting and maintaining them. Their “assets” include being fast growing, good shade and insecticidal properties, and these have enabled them to spread easily and dominate many different ecosystems. This photo was taken near Hidden Valley in Broome, but the Community Weed Project has encountered them in the Dampier Peninsula, Fitzroy, Derby, Gibb River Station and plantings (not yet weedy) in the Great Sandy Desert. Kununurra and the Ord River have significant Neem infestations and have been a target for the Neem control project run by Ord Land and Water.

(Photo: Louise Williams)

Neem fruit1

Neem fruits are fleshy and tasty (according to the birds) who like to feast on them and spread them under their favourite roosting trees. This is particularly evident when walking through places like JoonJoon Botanical reserve in Derby where many of the invading Neem trees are emerging under grand old Boabs and large Eucalypts.

(Photo: Louise Williams)

neem leaves

Though mostly green, young  leaves and growing tips can  have a reddish tinge.

(Photo: Colin Wilson)

neem floweres Dick Passfield

Sweet smelling, small creamy white flowers are produced in November/December and hang in sprays.

(Photo: Dick Passfield)

Neem leaf

The leaves of Neem are quite distinctive, however be careful not to confuse this species with Melia azedarach (White Cedar).  See Family Meliaceae under the Native Plants tab for further information on this similar-looking species.

(Photo: Louise Williams)


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