Catching the fleeting scenes of many splendored life with a camera.
'Look closely. The beautiful may be small' — Kant

28 July 2015

Freesia fucata, Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Melia azedarach (white cedar, chinaberry tree, bead-tree, Cape lilac, syringa berrytree, Persian lilac) flowers

Freesia is a genus of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the family Iridaceae. It is native to the eastern side of southern Africa, from Kenya south to South Africa.


Freesia fucata flowers. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

Lonicera japonica, Japanese honeysuckle or suikazura is a species of honeysuckle native to eastern Asia including China, Japan and Korea. It is a twining vine able to climb up to 10 metres (33 ft) high or more in trees, commonly used as ornamental hedge especially for their double-tongued, opening white and fading to yellow and sweetly vanilla scented flowers. The plant also contains many chemical compounds that could have medicinal uses, due to inhibitory effect on human platelet aggregation and antiinflammatory properties. 

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) flowers close-up.
(© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)



Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) flowers.
(© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

Melia azedarach, commonly known by many names, including white cedar, chinaberry tree, bead-tree, Cape lilac, syringa berrytree, Persian lilac, and Indian lilac, is a species of deciduous tree in the mahogany family, Meliaceae, that is native to Indomalaya and Australasia. The flowers are small and fragrant, with five pale purple or lilac petals, growing in clusters. Fruits are poisonous to humans if eaten in quantity. However, like those of the Yew tree, these toxins are not harmful to birds, who gorge themselves on the fruit, eventually reaching a "drunken" state. The birds that are able to eat the fruit spread the seeds in their droppings. The toxins are neurotoxins and unidentified resins, found mainly in the fruits. The first symptoms of poisoning appear a few hours after ingestion. They may include loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, bloody faeces, stomach pain, pulmonary congestion, cardiac arrest, rigidity, lack of coordination and general weakness. Death may take place after about 24 hours. Like in relatives, tetranortriterpenoids constitute an important toxic principle. These compounds are probably related to the wood and seed's resistance to pest infestation, and maybe to the unattractiveness of the flowers to animals.
Leaves have been used as a natural insecticide to keep with stored food, but must not be eaten as they are highly poisonous. Chinaberry fruit was used to prevent insect larvae from growing in the fruit. 
Chinaberry is mainly valued for its high quality although under-utilised timber. Planks dry without cracking or warping and are resistant to fungal infection. The hard seeds were widely used for making rosaries and other products requiring beads, before their replacement by modern plastics (shame!).

Melia azedarach (white cedar, chinaberry tree, bead-tree, Cape lilac, syringe berry tree, Persian lilac) branch in the wind. (by-nc-nd)

Melia azedarach (white cedar, chinaberry tree, bead-tree, Cape lilac, syringe berry tree, Persian lilac) flowers in the wind. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)



Melia azedarach (white cedar, chinaberry tree, bead-tree, Cape lilac, syringe berry tree, Persian lilac) flowers. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

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