Malarbar Neem /Malaivembu

Melia dubia



General Information :

  • Melia dubia is a large deciduous perennial tree growing from 6-30 m in height.
  • Bark smooth, greenish when young turning brown when mature.
  • The flowers are numerous star shaped , greenish white in color.
  • Fruits are greenish yellow in color.

Distribution :

  • The species is distributed in Moist and Deciduous of forest of India

Habitat : Moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests.

Soil : It grows in well drained red , red loam soil and black soil.

Altitude :600-1800m (MSL)

Rainfall :Up to 1000 mm

Temperature : 21°C to 37 °C

Terrain : Plain/hilly

Tree Characteristics :
  • It is a Light demander.

Habit : Deciduous tree

Planting Guidelines

Natural Regeneration :

  • Natural propagation is mostly through seeds and the germination is very less.

Artificial Regeneration :

  • It can be raised either by direct sowing or planting Nursery raised seedlings. 

Seed collection and Storage :

  • Seeds are collected from ripened fruits (Jan – Feb) by rubbing, washing and drying and stored in sealed tins. 
  • The drupes should be graded in water to remove floating seeds prior to sowing.

Nursery Technique :

  • It is best to sow seeds during March – April.
  • Cleaned and dried seeds should be sown in the open raised mother beds.
  • Seeds do not germinate in sand.
  • They have to be sown in soil: FYM manure medium in the ratio 2:1.
  • About 6-7 kg of dried drupes containing about 1500 numbers are required for one standard nursery bed.
  • The seeds sown need to be watered regularly, twice a day.
  • Germination occurs up to 6 months.
Vegetative Propagation:
  • Soft wood cuttings and coppice shoots respond well to 1000 – 2000 ppm IBA (liquid formulation).
  • Coppice from older trees responds better to rooting.
  • Pencil thick cuttings need to be taken for propagation.
  • Thin shoots are easily susceptible to root rot.
  • The shoots can be placed on sand medium and watered twice a day.
  • A provision for drainage is a must as water logging destroys the shoots.
  • Season also plays a major role in the rooting of cuttings.
  • Drier seasons are conducive for rooting.
  • About 40-50 per cent rooting can be obtained.
  (Note: The species is very sensitive to transplantation and hence care must be taken while prickling seedlings from bed or transplanting rooted shoots to bags.)

Plantation technique :

  • A spacing of 5 x 5 m is optimal while a spacing of 8 x 8 m for agro forestry purpose.
  • Growth is enhanced with the application of fertilizers.
  • Regular irrigation is required for fast growth of the trees.
  • Initial growth is hastened with daily watering and application of fertilizers once in three months for the first three years.
  • Under rain fed conditions, the growth is slow (almost 100 % less).

Care & Disease Control :

·         Pruning is necessary to attain clean bole.  ·    The bole is straight, round, without any knots and without any buttress.

Irrigation :

  • Daily watering - Regular irrigation for initial years.
  • In case of flood irrigated - alternative days watering for first 2 to 3 weeks after planting, then weekly irrigation to be done Every 10 – 15 days during non rainy season.

Recommended Harvest :

  • 5 – 15 years

Yield :

  • The tree attains a volume of 15 Cu.ft. at the end of 15 years and earns revenue of Rs. 350 per cubic foot from the 5th year onwards.
  • It is expected to produce 12 to 15 Cu.ft of timber in 5 years time. 

Agro Forestory :

Groundnut, chilli, turmeric, blackgram, papaya, banana, melon, sugarcane , Melia Dubia + Mango , Melia Dubia + Casurina junghuhniana (5 feet distance between the rows).

Major uses :

  • The most preferred species for plywood industry.
  • The wood is also used for packing cases, ceiling planks, building purposes, agricultural implements, pencils, match boxes, splints, cattamarans, musical instruments and tea boxes 

Other uses :

  • The leaves repel mosquitoes and other insects.
  • A red dye is obtained from the bark.
  • The fruits are a source of a flea powder and an insecticide.

Market details :

  • Melia fetches Rs. 7300/- per tonne for billets of girth 50-120 cm girth and above
  • Rs.370 per CFT (0.02 cu.m.) for trees which have attained a girth > 120 cm.