Neem Tree Information: Learn How To Grow A Neem Tree
The Neem tree is one of the most popular trees in India. It grows naturally in tropical climates all over the world.
Its name comes from its resemblance to a palm tree, but it does not have any sap or leaves like other palms do. It has no trunk or branches and only grows up to 6 feet tall with a diameter of 2 inches. It is native to India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
It was introduced into the United States in 1882 when it was planted in Florida. Since then it has spread throughout much of the country including California where it is now found along the coast.
There are many different varieties of neem trees grown commercially; however, there are several species of neem which make them unique.
There are two main types of neem trees, the Indian and the Chinese. Both are used for various purposes.
The Chinese variety (Cymara) is grown primarily for their fruit, while the Indians produce a woody stem called a “neem” which is used in making paper. They both have similar characteristics and uses.
The neem tree grows best in full sun to partial shade conditions and thrives under moderate temperatures year round. It prefers well-drained soil and is drought tolerant once it is established.
USDA Zones 9-11 are preferred for the best results depending on the variety of tree.
Neem trees can also be grown as far north as New Jersey and as far west as Washington State. The only places they do not grow are in extremely cold or hot climates.
The leaves are dark green and oval shaped with pointy ends. They grow opposite each other on the stem and are about 2-4 inches long.
The trees grow 1-6 feet a year until they reach maturity at 18-24 feet. The flowers bloom in clusters and have both male and female parts. They are small and yellowish in color. The fruit is a yellow or green oval-shaped nut that is about 1-2 inches long.
The wood of these trees is very hard and dense and does not rot easily. It is often used in making tools, wooden cooking spoons, and utensils.
The name of these trees comes from the Hindi word for “Neem” which means tree”. The word itself means “hurt” or “damage” which is a reference to the belief that the tree can cure various ills.
In the United States it is also called the Margosa or Mesqtree, which comes from a word meaning “three”, and it is believed that it refers to the three products that can be made from the tree, namely the bark, seed, and leaves.
You can find neem trees in almost any area that has moderate to warm temperatures. They thrive in dry, sandy, poor soil and can grow in just about any area.
The trees are usually started from seeds, but they can also be grown from cuttings or air layers. The tree itself starts growing quickly and will be able to survive on its own within a year.
They will start to bear fruit within 3-4 years and continue to produce for 15-20 years after that.
This is a very low-maintenance tree that can produce valuable products for your home. You only have to plant it once and then sit back and enjoy the benefits for years to come!
The fruit of the tree is an oval shaped nut 1-2 inches long. Each fruit contains one or two seeds, which are encased in a sweet sap that is also edible.
The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. It’s high in fiber, carbohydrates, and B-complex vitamins.
The leaves, flowers, roots, and bark are used to make medicine for treating several types of diseases and conditions including:
Diabetes – The bark of the tree contains a natural chemical that aids insulin in the treatment of diabetes. The chemical begins working as soon as it enters the bloodstream and can remain active for up to 10 hours.
Blood Circulation – The leaves of the tree contain natural chemicals that improve and regulate blood circulation. This property makes them useful in the treatment of chest pain, heart attacks, and hardening of the arteries.
Acne Treatment – The sawdust from the tree’s wood can be used to create a paste or salve that will get rid of acne or can be used as a poultice to treat infected wounds.
Insect Bites and Stings – The leaves can be crushed and then applied to the site of a sting or bite to stop the itching and burning sensation caused by the injury.
Other Common Diseases – The flowers of the neem tree can be used to make an effective treatment for coughs, colds, fevers, and other common diseases.
Stomach Ulcers – The fruit of the tree can be ground up and mixed with water to create a refreshing beverage that will heal stomach ulcers.
The wood of the tree is useful for carving sculptures, making furniture, and building tools such as bows or arrows. It also has several industrial uses as well.
In addition, it can be used as firewood.
The bark of the tree contains a compound that is used to make medicines. This, along with other byproducts of the tree can be distilled to create BioDiesel.
The fruits, leaves, seeds, and root of the tree all contain proteins, starches, sugars, and essential fatty acids that are good for feeding animals.
The fruit is eaten by several species of birds and animals and the leaves aren’t consumed but they do serve as a source of nutrition for herbivores.
The trees produce a substance that can be refined into a strong poison.
There are several different varieties of the tree that produce different types of fruit. Some can be eaten and others will cause sickness and even paralysis if ingested.
No part of the tree is edible for humans or animals as far as we know, but it does have several other uses:
The root contains a compound that becomes highly flammable when mixed with water. It can be used as fire-starting tinder.
The bark has several medicinal properties as well. The flowers produce a sweet-smelling oil that can be used as a perfume or in cooking.
The fruit is crushed and mixed with water to create a poison that will kill small animals such as dogs, foxes, and wolves. It can be used on spears and arrows.
The tree is susceptible to several insect pests and diseases.
Sources & references used in this article:
Monograph on neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.). by DN Tewari – 1992 – cabdirect.org
Neem in plant protection. by RT Gahukar – 1995 – cabdirect.org
Properties and potential of natural pesticides from the neem tree, Azadirachta indica by H Schmutterer – Annual review of entomology, 1990 – annualreviews.org
Nonconventional insecticidal effects of pesticides available from the Neem tree, Azadirachta indica by KRS Ascher – Archives of insect Biochemistry and Physiology, 1993 – Wiley Online Library
The neem tree patent: international conflict over the commodification of life by E Marden – BC Int’l & Comp. L. Rev., 1999 – HeinOnline
Repellency of powdered plant material of the Indian neem tree, the Labrador tea, and the sweet-flag, to some stored product pests. by S Ignatowicz, B Wesołowska – Polskie Pismo Entomologiczne, 1996 – cabdirect.org
Controllable synthesis of silver nanoparticles using Neem leaves and their antimicrobial activity by A Verma, MS Mehata – Journal of radiation Research and applied …, 2016 – Taylor & Francis