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Azadirachta indica

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds of this species are likely to have orthodox storage behaviour, so should not present any inherent storage problems. However, they should be handled carefully when drying and during rehydration for germination, to avoid losing viability.

Azadirachta indica (Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)

Seed Storage

The seeds of this species are likely to be Orthodox. Remove seeds from the mature, fleshy fruits and carry out initial slow drying under ambient conditions. Dry further to between 15 and 20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

This species has previously been described as having Intermediate and Short-lived seeds. However, these classifications may suggest that the fruits used for research were not fully mature or were handled inappropriately after harvest. If the fruits of this species are collected at the point of natural dispersal and are dried carefully, they can be stored under sub-zero conditions without a loss in viability.

Germination Requirements

The seeds of this species do not display dormancy. Seeds with low moisture status are sensitive to imbibitional stress and can die during rehydration. Make sure that they are allowed to imbibe slowly for germination, at high temperatures between 25 and 30ºC.

Remove seed covering structures before sowing. Germinate on agar or sand at 26ºC.

Seed Morphology

The fruit is a drupe containing one (rarely two) seeds.

Collect the fruits at around 8 weeks after pollination, when the fruit coat has turned yellow-green in colour. The fruits fall as they become heavier, attracting insects, rodents, birds and other animals.

Azadirachta indica
(Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)

Taxonomy

Family: MELIACEAE

Accepted name: Azadirachta indica A.Juss.

Synonyms: Melia azadirachta L., Melia indica (A. Juss.) Brandis

Common name: neem

References and Links   

  • Baskin, C.C. and Baskin J.M. (1998). Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, USA.
  • Baxter, D. and Berjak, P. (2004). Desiccation trials on neem, Azadirachta indica A. Juss., seeds. In M. Sacandé, D. Joker, M. Dulloo and K. Thompsen (eds) Comparative Storage Biology of Tropical Tree Seeds. IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • Neya, O., Gaméné, C.S., Sacandé, M. (2004). Effect of neem (Azadirachta indica) fruit development on seed quality. In M. Sacandé, D. Joker, M. Dulloo and K. Thompsen (eds) Comparative Storage Biology of Tropical Tree Seeds. IPGRI, Rome, Italy.

  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Azadirachta indica.
  • Forest & Landscape Denmark - University of Copenhagen, Denmark: seed leaflet on Azadirachta indica.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Azadirachta indica.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Azadirachta indica.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Azadirachta indica.