A Bishop’s Garden (Part Four)

The final part of my series on the Bishop of Gemmingen’s botanical garden in Eichstätt – Hortus Eystettensis – is dedicated to this tree…

Melia azedarach

For those of you in warmer climes than Bavaria this may be known to you. Often called Bead Tree or Cape Lilac, it is of the Mahogany family and is native to India, South-east Asia, and Australia. It has probably been exported widely as an ornamental garden tree, but I have never seen one at a nursery in Germany. It dislikes cold, dry conditions, and only established trees can survive freezing temperatures. Wikipedia also gives the following common names: Chinaberry, Persian Lilac, White Cedar, Texas Umbrella, Ceylon cedar, and Pride of India. I’d love to hear if anyone knows it or has seen one before. (And are they invasive, as Wikipedia claims?)

The small, star-like, pale lilac flowers smell lovely and were in full bloom at the end of June. The seeds are, however, toxic…

I find the growth as well as the flower of the Melia so attractive, and the delicate fragrance similar to that of elderflower. In fact one of the German common names is “Chinese Elder”.

This was most definitely my favourite plant at the Bastion Garden (Hortus Eystettensis). The small but extensive botanical garden in Eichstätt made a great impression on me, and I will certainly be making another visit next year… if not sooner. 😉

Hope you enjoyed looking at the garden with me.

Thanks for visiting!