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Neem is a moderate-sized tree which reaches a height of 40 feet or more. It has a round to oval, spreading crown of wide branches and dense foliage. The dark green, evergreen leaves are opposite, pinnate, 8 – 16 inches long with 20 – 30 leaflets each 1 – 3 1/2 inches long with toothed edges. However, new leaves are reddish in color; and under severe drought conditions, the tree will lose most of its leaves.
Also, flowers are borne in drooping clusters up to 10 inches long; blooms are white and fragrant, small about 2/5 inch wide. And, fruits are smooth, olive-like in shape, green becoming yellow when ripe, about an inch long and suspended on a long stem. Fruits contain 1 – 3 seeds, which are used for propagation.
Neem is a tree of great value in semiarid and arid areas because it provides numerous products. New leaves, flowers and fruits are edible; leaves and seed oil have numerous medicinal uses and are also natural insecticides; neem oil is a lubricant; the bark has a high tannin content and the wood is durable. Neem is widely planted worldwide in arid and semiarid area because it is hardy and provides excellent shade. It tolerates a range of well-drained soils. In landscaping, this attractive fragrant tree is ideal for shade in parks and gardens, along the seaside or indoors in a planter.