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a genus of deciduous or half-evergreen trees or shrubs of the family Meliaceae. The leaves are alternate and pinnate, and the flowers are in panicles. The fruit is either a dry or a juicy drupe. There are up to 25 species, distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World. The chinaberry (Melia azederach) is cultivated in regions with warm climates; in the USSR it is grown in the Crimea, Middle Asia and the Caucasus. An attractive tree measuring 12-18 m in height, the chinaberry has a spreading crown and large leaves that are twice or thrice pinnate. Its small, lilac, fragrant flowers are in large, loose panicles, and its fruit is fleshy and yellow, sometimes reaching a diameter of 1.5 cm. The chinaberry grows wild in southern and southeastern Asia. The leaves and the roots of some species of Melia are used medicinally. The fruits are poisonous and are used in the manufacture of insecticides. The wood is used for fine woodwork.