Introducing Melia Ash Furniture: A Stylish Yet Sustainable Wood Range

Here at Oak Furniture UK, we are delighted to announce that we have recently expanded our stunning sustainable wood furniture (Lincoln Ash) range to include both practical and stylish dining room sets and living room sets as well as the original Melia Ash bedroom set.

The beautiful Melia Ash furniture range is made from a rare exotic tree scientifically referred to as “Melia Azedarach”. This tree is set apart from other common woods such as Oak, Ash and Pine, for example, due to its ability to tolerate warm climates and soil conditions. Boasting high commercial value to farmers, this wood is multi-purpose and can be used for everything from sustainable furniture to medicinal purposes. Let us take you on a journey and uncover the story behind the captivating Melia Ash Tree.

The Melia Azedarach

Known to reach impressive heights of between 10 and 45 metres, the Melia Azedarach Tree (also referred to as Cape Lilac, Persian Lilac, Bead-Tree, White Cedar, Chinaberry Tree, Syringa Berrytree and Pride of India) is part of the Mahogany family and is often referred to as the Melia Ash tree as its leaves share similarities with that of the Ash family. Often found in tropical areas, this tree boasts sparsely branched limbs, marble-sized yellow fruits, dark green leaves and clusters of lilac star-shaped blossoms that omit a chocolate scent.

Melia azedarach - Chinaberry tree: Leaf, alternate, bipinnately compound.

Melia Azedarach is monoecious which means it has both female and male flowers present on the same plant. It bears fruit that is consumed by birds who then go on to disperse the seeds. It has an incredibly high seed output and these seeds are viable for a two-year period and it is in this way that the Melia Ash tree reproduces via root suckers. 

The Persian Lilac - Melia Azedarach Flower

Melia Azedarach - Mature Fruit

The striking images below capture the many development stages that the Melia Ash tree experiences as it ages. In its early years, you will notice that the bark has a greenish brown bark with a reddish tinge as well as a slight striped exterior which becomes courser and darker as it develops fully.

Young Melia Ash Tree

Melia Azedarach/China berry Developing bark

Melia Azedarach - Maturing Tree Bark

Melia Azedarach - Mature Tree Bark

Origin

So where does the Melia Tree originate from? The Melia Azedarach boasts a south Asian beginning and is abundant in the Himalayan Hills of India, Japan and China and parts of northern and eastern Australia.

Naturalised Distribution

A widely distributed tree, Melia Azedarach is found scattered in parts of Central and Southern Australia, Southern Europe, Southern and Eastern Africa, Southern USA, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, tropical Southern America and many Pacific islands.

The Melia Azedarach tree is also present in parts of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda where it naturally resides in lowland tropical forests.

Habitat

The Melia Azedarach thrives in both hot and cold climates and is tolerant of both extreme heat and droughts. It can be found in a variety of habitats including forests, grassland, urban areas and even wetlands. While aged trees are frost resistant and can survive in temperatures that range from -5 degrees to 39 degrees, the younger Melia Ash trees are not as diligent.

Interesting Observations

• While the yellow fruits boast toxins that make them inedible for humans, they render no danger for birds who spread the seeds of the Melia Ash tree via their excretions.

• The name boasts both Greek and Persian origins getting its name from the divided leaf design and the name Azzadirackt itself is Persian for Noble Tree.

• The leaves of this tree are incredibly toxic for humans if consumed, but they are used to keep insects away from fresh produce.

Common Uses

The Melia Ash tree has a plethora of uses ranging from medicinal qualities to woodcraft and shading. The leaves are often used as fodder for cattle in Kenya, while its premium quality timbre loved for its termite resistance is used to create furniture, agricultural implements, plywood, boxes, poles and tool handles. In some countries, the fruit extracts are used to repel insects and protect everything from literature and garments to crops and cocoa beans. In Asia and Australia and the South-Eastern United States, the Melia Ash Tree is used as an ornamental tree to provide shade and shelter. The bark, leaves and roots are also known to have medicinal properties and can be used to treat rheumatism, fever, swellings and inflammation to name a few.

Below are a few pictures of the Melia Azedarach tree that resides in the University of Malaga botanical garden during different seasons:

Melia Azedarach - Mature Tree Flowering in SpringMelia Azedarach - Mature Green TreeMelia Azedarach - Mature Tree with Ripen Fruit

The Melia Wood

Melia wood is adored for its pliable and hard wearing nature and it can be easily crafted into furniture as it is simple to saw and peel. The colour of the wood varies from a pale orange with a hint of pink to a dark reddish brown similar to mahogany. It boasts a straight grain and a rough texture.

From a craftsmanship perspective, the unique grain and texture ensure that Chinaberry wood lends itself to rustic surroundings and when it comes to sanding, plaining and cutting, it is a pleasure to work with. Chinaberry wood has large pores which are grainy in appearance which presents two options. It can be sanded to achieve a grainy finish for a rustic feel or it can be filled to achieve a smooth shiny finish for a polished feel. Our Lincoln Ash range falls somewhere in between with its protective lacquered finish that provides a dimmed golden glare as opposed to a shiny finish.

Chinaberry can be used to create beautiful furniture including wooden containers, crates, flooring, Industrial and domestic wood ware, tool handles and toys.

Melia Azedarach / Chinaberry - Wood Grain (Sanded)Melia Azedarach / Chinaberry - Wood Grain (Sealed)

Melia Ash Furniture Range

Few trees are as sustainable as the Melia Azedarach. Adored for its pliable nature, this tree provides wood that is simple to mould making it a prime option for furniture. Our Melia Ash furniture range boasts exceptional attention to detail with hand-carved finishing touches that make ach piece unique. Browse our traditional Melia Ash furniture range characterised by hand-crafted reeding, pegged joints, swept feet and aged pewter finish handles.

Melia Ash Bedroom Set:

Melia Ash Exotic Wood Bedroom Furniture

Melia Ash Living Room Furniture Set:

Melia Ash Exotic Wood Living Room Furniture

Melia Ash Dining Room Set:

Melia Ash Exotic Wood Dining Furniture

If sustainability is a key factor for you when purchasing wood furniture, spread the word and share our stunning eco-friendly Melia Ash furniture range with friends and family.