Chinaberry from Paula in Greenville, SC

It appeared for the first time last summer in a partial sun bed next to a seer gum tree. It has a soft, woody, smooth trunk, brown to green in color. The lobe shaped, dental (?) leaves are glossy green. It is approaching five feet in height.
I have to identify it searching for native plants, trees, shrubs. The only plants I found that resemble it are the yellow root and anise root.


Hi Paula,

this appears to be a young chinaberry tree, Melia azedarach,  It is not native, so it would not be in native plant books.  Birds carry the seeds around.  It is often both cultivated and escaped in South Carolina.  The leaves on younger plants look like yours, being dentate on the margins.  Older trees have leaflets without teeth on the edges, generally.  The fruits are poisonous to humans.

There is more about this plant here and elsewhere on the internet:


Dr. Steven R. Hill, Botanist  SCNPS

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