Melia L.
Sp.Pl. 2:384 (1753)

Name Status: Current
Browse to the list of specimens for Melia L.

Scientific Description
B. Richardson, Thursday 8 September 2016

Family Meliaceae.

Family Meliaceae, Subfamily Melioideae, Tribe Melieae.

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs. ‘Normal’ plants. Leaves cauline. To 8 m high. Mesophytic. Leaves medium-sized, or large; alternate; spiral; petiolate; with ‘normal’ orientation; compound; bipinnate, or multiply compound; paripinnate, or imparipinnate. Leaflets elliptic, or ovate, or obovate; oblique at the base (truncate or obtuse); flat. Leaflet margins flat. Leaf blades dorsiventral; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaf blade margins crenate (or pinnatifid); flat. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite and functionally male. Unisexual flowers present. Plants andromonoecious. The unisexual flowers aggregated in different parts of the same inflorescence. Plants not viviparous; homostylous. Floral nectaries present (small). Nectar secretion from the disk.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. Inflorescence many-flowered. Flowers in panicles. Inflorescences compound. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences axillary. Flowers pedicellate; medium-sized; regular; 5(–6) merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10(–12); 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present; 5(–6); 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; lobed; lobulate. Calyx lobes markedly longer than the tube. Calyx imbricate; exceeded by the corolla; regular. Corolla present; 5(–6); 1 -whorled; polypetalous; imbricate; regular; hairy abaxially (pubescent); purple (‘mauve’). Corolla members entire. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 10(–12). Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal; coherent (filaments connate into a short (to 1 cm) narrowly cylindrical tube); 1 - adelphous; 1 -whorled. Stamens (8–)10(–12); all more or less similar in shape; diplostemonous. Filaments appendiculate (terminally with slender, filiform, truncate, or 2–4-lobed appendages); hairy (inside connate tube). Anthers all alike; basifixed. Gynoecium 4–8 carpelled. The pistil 4–8 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth (rarely), or isomerous with the perianth, or increased in number relative to the perianth (rarely). Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 4–8 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; 4–8 - lobed; capitate (or coroniform). Placentation axile. Ovules 2 per locule.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit 10–15 mm long; dehiscent; a drupe; 3–8 locular. Dispersal unit the seed. Seeds 1(–2) per locule. Seeds thinly endospermic; not compressed; non-arillate. Cotyledons 2; flat. Testa smooth. Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar (Pennington & Styles (1975)).

Geography, cytology, number of species. Adventive. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, or Northern Territory, or Queensland, or New South Wales. Northern Botanical Province. N=14; 2n=28. A genus of 15 species; 1 species in Western Australia; M. azedarach L. (var australasica; 0 endemic to Western Australia.

Etymology. From the Greek for "ash tree"; refers to the resemblance of the leaves to those of the ash.

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Koch, B. L.; Wilson, A. J. G.; Western Australian Herbarium (1992). Flora of the Kimberley region. Western Australian Herbarium. Como, W.A.
  • Marchant, N. G.; Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Bennett, E. M.; Lander, N. S.; Macfarlane, T. D.; Western Australian Herbarium (1987). Flora of the Perth region. Part one. Western Australian Herbarium. Perth.