Habit: It’s a tree
Root: It has a tap root.
Leaves: The compound leaf has 6-10 pairs that grow on either side of the stem. The leaves are toothed in appearance. The young leaves are reddish in colour, becoming light green then taking on permanent colour of dark green.
Flower: The flowers are white and appear cloud-like (small clusters). Both male and female flowers exist on the same tree.
Fruit: It fruits from June to August. The fruit is green and shaped like an olive.
Seed: It has one seed per fruit.
Pollinators: Insects like bees and butterflies
Seed Dispersal: Seeds fall on the ground and are dispersed by birds, bat and other mammals
Where they grow: Neem grows all over India.
Neem needs sunlight though it grows with partial to heavy shade in its early years. It needs a well drained soil with a rainfall of 450 – 15 mm annually. It does not enjoy being waterlogged.
Products made from neem trees have been used in India for over two millennia for their medicinal properties. Neem products are believed to be anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive and sedative by Sidha and Ayurvedic practitioners.
The bark, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine. The root, flower, and fruit are also used but less frequently.
Neem leaf is used for leprosy, eye disorders, bloody nose, intestinal worms, stomach upset, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), fever, diabetes, gum disease (gingivitis), and liver problems.
The bark is used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases, pain, and fever. The flower is used for reducing bile, controlling phlegm, and treating intestinal worms.
The fruit is used for hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, urinary tract disorders, bloody nose, phlegm, eye disorders, diabetes, wounds, and leprosy.
Neem twigs are used for cough, asthma, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, low sperm levels, urinary disorders, and diabetes. People in the tropics sometimes chew neem twigs instead of using toothbrushes, but this can cause illness. Neem twigs are often contaminated with fungi within 2 weeks of harvest and should be avoided.
The seed and seed oil are used for leprosy and intestinal worms.
The stem, root bark, and fruit are used as a tonic and astringent.
Some people apply neem directly to the skin to treat head lice, skin diseases, wounds, and skin ulcers; as a mosquito repellent; and as a skin softener.
Neem is also used as an insecticide.
Food: Neem is used for food in Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. In Bengal, it is fried and served with Baingan. In Myanmar, the soft leaves are boiled with tamarind then eaten as a vegetable.
Agriculture: The dried leaves are used as a pesticide when storing grains