Our mystery seeds from last week were inside the dried fruit (drupes).

They were from a chinaberry tree, Melia azedarach. As the name suggests, it is originally from Asia.

Although the chinaberry tree has lovely, lacy foliage, it is considered to be an invasive weed in many states in the Southeast because it competes with or shades out more desirable species of plants (Texas, Florida– see video at website, North Carolina).

Chinaberry trees are deciduous in the winter. The leaves give off a musky or pungent odor when crushed.

The flowers grow in clusters, as do the fruit (drupes). Chinaberry fruit are poisonous to humans and many other mammals.

Sometimes whether or not to plant a certain species isn’t as clear cut as one would like. Weedy species tend to be easier to grow and thrive under poor conditions.  Still, it pays to be able to recognize undesirable plants, as well as desirable ones, and try to plant natives as often as possible. What do you think?

More about invasive plants