History and Description
The Chinaberry tree
was introduced into the United States in the middle 1800s. It was
brought to the United States from Asia. The tree was planted widely as a
ornamental around home sites.
This deciduous tree
can reach a height of 50 feet and 2 feet wide. It is drought tolerant. This
beautiful tree turns yellow in the fall and has yellow berries in the winter.
The twigs are stout,
glossy greenish brown with light dots. There are no terminal buds. They have
numerous broad, v-shaped, raised leaves. The bark is dark chocolate and becomes
increasingly cracked with age.
The Chinaberry tree’s
wood is soft and white. The main stem is lime green. Each individual set of leaves has tips, 1 to 3 inches long
and 0.5 to 1.2 inches wide. The leaves are glossy dark green with a light green
central vein above and the pale green central vein below. They turn golden yellow
The flowers of the
Chinaberry tree bloom from March to May. There are five pinkish lavender to
whitish petals. The stamens are usually connected in a dark-purple tube. There are
five green sepals. These flowers are very fragrant.
The fruit of a
Chinaberry tree is a berrylike, round fleshy fruit. It continues through winter
and contains a stone with one to six seeds inside. They are yellowish green
turning to yellowish tan.
The tree was planted
widely as a ornamental around home sites. The Chinaberry tree’s extracts are
useful for natural pesticides. It is also used for medicinal purposes because
it has anti-viral and possibly anti-cancer properties. In Europe, the
Chinaberry tree’s wood is used for flooring.
The abundant seeds of the Chinaberry tree
by birds. The fruit and seeds grow between July and
January. The flowers of the Chinaberry tree bloom from March to May.
It is fast growing and creates rapidly spreading thickets.
The Chinaberry tree is common on
roadsides, at forest margins, and around old home sites. It is rare at high
elevations. It is semi-shade tolerant. It forms colonies from root sprouts or
sprouts from root collars.
The clusters of yellow flowers in spring yielding
persistent, poisonous berries. The berry and seeds are poisonous if eaten by
livestock or human. The Chinaberry tree is blocking out native trees because of
its berries. It spreads at a rapid rate because of the birds.
One way to control Chinaberry is to pull it up by the roots when
it is young. Another way to control it is to treat the stumps after they have
been cut. To destroy adult trees, herbicides should be used. Don’t
apply in March and April. For trees that have fallen, apply the herbicides to
stem and stump tops immediately after cutting.