More Interesting Info...
Native Neem Melia Australis White Cedar Seeds
Pack of 10+ seeds, semi-dried still in the berry!
This one is a real beauty for a whole host of reasons!
It is a really great tree for providing dappled shade during the summer when you really need it, yet it lets in ample light in winter when it drops its leaves. Beautiful flowers that smell like sweet caramel and look a bit like bunches of lilacs.
Bright shiny yellow berries that hang on drupes and are quite attractive to the parrots and miner birds. They eat them occasionally, causing them no harm.
If they eat enough they get sort of drunk, which is kinda funny to watch.
The timber is a great softwood for use in place of pine, and unlike pine, it needs no treatment, due to its natural insecticidal properties.
I will get to that bit in a minute.
It’s an Australian Native, and used extensively in revegetation work, to hold soil together and provide under story shade. Also, very common in parks and gardens here, and all around the world.
In the wild it can reach up to 30m and about 15m wide, but if you just cut the top off when it is in its second or third year at about 1.5meters high, it will produce side shoots, and bush out to a max of about 2-3meters. They look really cool like that, as do the really big ones in the forest. Handles frost really well, as it does with drought!
It’s a great tree, and there is probably enough reasons to want a couple already I reckon?
But wait folks, it gets even better!!!
You can use the berries themselves as a really strong, very nonspecific insect killer, and fungicide for timber decks and patios!
Just be aware, it’s not something I would spray on food crops I was about to harvest, as it’s just too good at killing all the bugs, both good and bad.
Its Insecticidal napalm, and will wipe out EVERYTHING that comes in contact with it.
Even though the poisonous chemical in the plant is destroyed by sunlight quite quickly, just 6-8berries can kill a man if eaten! So please handle the spray with care, and store it out of reach of kids and pets!
It is still a poison, it’s just a natural, biodegradable one.
I have a small squirt bottle in the cupboard that I use on the occasional paperwasp nest that are too close to the house, in the electric meter box, or in the netting of our plant covers/greenhouse.
I know the wasps do a great job killing the caterpillars for us, so I don’t kill all of them, just the small minority of ones that move in and try to take over my little patch of turf and I can’t safely get at them to safely relocate them. (The Mrs is severely allergic to them).
I also spray the ones that try to nest, in the chook and guinea pigs houses, because its horrible when the little fellas get stung, and again I cant get at them as they nest in the gaps in the roof.
The spray itself is biodegradable, as the active ingredient (the neuro-toxic diuretic poison bit “Azadirachtin”) is completely destroyed by exposure to sunlight in less than five days.
It is exactly the same stuff as in the commercial “Neem” products, but this is the Australian Native version. Wikipedia says the following about Azadirachtin, the main active ingredient>>> “Azadirachtin is 100% biodegradable (it degrades within 100 hours when exposed to light and water) and shows very low toxicity to mammals (the LD50 in rats is > 3,540 mg/kg making it practically non-toxic).”
Check out the picture for a recipe on how I make the spray.
Basically, you pick the berries when the first few start to drop, at the peak of ripeness.
In glass screw top(pasta sauce jar is perfect), add 1 cup of berries to 1 cup of strong alcohol, keeping in the DARK. (its now a fire hazard too, so treat it as such. Don’t put it next to the oven etc!)
Leave it in a cupboard for a week to a month. (metho is quicker as its a purer alchohol content, but home brew hooch/vodka works just as good, it’s just a little slower because of the higher water content).
Just till the liquid soaks out all the Azadirachtin, and goes a BRIGHT FLUORO YELLOW like the picture.
Strain the liquid into another Bottle/Jar and add 1 cup of water to the berries in the first bottle again.
Leave it for a day or two, but shake it up every chance you get.
This really pulps up the skin and berry, and the water mix goes DARK GREY AND CLOUDY.
Strain again, and add the strained DARK GREY liquid to the BRIGHT YELLOW liquid.
Dump the berries, but again, treat them as a poison.
If you burn them, or any part of the tree itself, don’t stand around breathing in the smoke as it may still be mildly poisonous!
When you mix the yellow and the grey liquids together, almost by magic, the liquid goes brilliant WHITE.
Then you are ready to use it.
Always keep it in the dark AWAY FROM KIDDIES, PETS AND THE FOOLISH, and label it POISON as that’s exactly what it is.
Don’t not use a soft drink or especially a milk bottle to store it!
I never use plastic, and I recommend glass jars due to the solvent content, and I put them up high in a locked shed, as folk are less likely to accidentally drink from labelled, locked up a glass jar VS a bottle.
Shake well before use, as the alcohol layer will separate from the water layer with time.
Sprayed on mouldy or mossy timber, it generally kills it straight away too, but always patch test, and assume the timber is a bit toxic for a week or two. (don’t let the kids or pets lick it!)
The internet tells me>>>
“This species is readily grown from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment. Propagation can also be carried out using cuttings of firm, last season’s growth.”
That’s totally true, but in my experience, there is always a delay of about month or two from planting to germination especially in the colder months, or when just wacked in the ground, un-scarified or unsoaked and cleaned. That’s due to the high levels of naturally occurring “germination inhibitors” in the fruit and seed coat.
That needs to break down a little before the seed can germinate.
Oh yeah, while I think of it, never waste your time and $, on cleaned seeds, as the dried “berry” part is essential.
It’s like a natural vacuum packaging, that protects the seed inside without causing germination chemicals to be activated prematurely, causing the germ to use up all its energy stores, trying to sprout without being planted yet! If these seeds have been washed, or peeled of flesh, then stored for any length of time, then they will NEVER grow, or at very best, at a much much reduced rate.
I generally just plant the whole dried berries in large pots, ignore them for a few months, and just doing that I get a good result. Germination is slow but very reliable and in some places this high germination % and the plants toxicity has caused folks to consider it a “weed”, despite being native to WA, NT, QLD, NSW, as well as India, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Soaking the dried berries in warm water overnight, then giving them a bit of a rough up just by stirring them around in a bucket with a stick speeds up the process.
That removes some of the fruit and improves the germination times by quite a bit.
Please don’t panic if they are all not up within a couple weeks.
They can/will/should take a while, and that is normal.
It is commonly called azedarach, bead tree, berry tree Cape lilac, Cape syringa, China-berry, Chinaball tree, Chinaberry, China berry, Chinaberrytree, Chinaberry tree, China tree, Chinese umbrella, Indian bead tree, Indian lilac, Japanese bead tree, lilac tree, margosa tree, Persian lilac, pride-of-India, pride of India, Sichuan pagoda tree, syringa, syringa berrytree, Texas umbrella tree, tulip cedar, umbrella tree, white cedar and sometimes known by the synonyms Azedarach sempervirens, Azedarach sempervirens var. australasica, Melia australasica, Melia azedarach L. var. australasica, Melia composita and Melia dubia.
There you go folks, another native beauty for your collection!