Persian Lilac


The Persian lilac tree is frequently confused with Neem. However, the structure of the leaves and the color of the flowers, white in Neem and lilac in Persian lilac, are sufficient to distinguish between the two. A large evergreen tree native to India, growing wild in the sub-Himalayan region. In India, Muslims are credited with the spread of the tree. The bark is reddish brown, becoming fissured on mature trees. The deciduous leaves are bipinnate (twice feather-like) and 1-2 ft long. The individual leaflets, each about 2 in long and less than half as wide, are pointed at the tips and have toothed edges. In spring and early summer, Persian lilac produces masses of purplish, fragrant, star shaped flowers, each about 3/4 in in diameter, that arch or droop in 8 in panicles. They are followed by clusters of spherical, yellow fruits about 3/4 in in diameter that persist on the trees even after the leaves have fallen. All parts of Persian lilac tree are poisonous. Eating as few as 6 berries can result in death. Birds that eat too many seeds have been known to become paralyzed.
Medicinal uses: Bark and fruit extract is used to kill parasitic roundworms. In Manipur, leaves and flowers are used as poultice in nervous headache. Leaves, bark and fruit are insect repellant. Seed-oil is used in rheumatism. Wood-extract is used in asthma.


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