Azadirachta excelsa

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search

Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana

Local names:
English (Philippine neem tree,marrango tree), Indonesian (sentang,kayu bawang), Malay (saurian bawang,ranggu,kayu bawang), Thai (sa-dao-thiam), Trade name (sentang)

Azadirachta excelsa is a large deciduous tree up to 50 m tall, bole up to 125 cm in diameter, buttresses absent. Bark surface smooth, becoming fissured and shaggily flaky, pinkish-brown or pinkish-gray, becoming pale brownish or grayish buff in old trees, inner bark orange-red.

Leaves alternate, imparipinnate up to 60(-90) cm long, with 7-11 pairs of leaflets, leaflets asymmetrical, lanceolate to elliptical, up to 12.5 x 3.5 cm, margin entire. 

Flowers greenish-white, in axillary many-flowered panicles, actinomorphic, 5-merous and fragrant.

Fruit drupaceous, 2.4-3.2 cm long, green turning yellow when ripe.


A. excelsa is a plant of lowland monsoon forests in southeast Asia usually occurring in old clearings or secondary forest, but also found in primary dipterocarp forest up to 350 m altitude. It is mostly associated with Durio, Palaquim, Calophyllum and Agathis species.

Native range
Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Vietnam

Tree management

The species survives well with almost 100% survival in the field and is relatively free from pest and disease problems during the early growth phase. A. excelsa tolerates greater rainfall than A. indica. Growth is slow initially but subsequently increases significantly. Sentang is planted at a spacing of 2-4 m x 4 m. Harvest of sentang is usually 5 years after planting.

Thinning should be done to promote rapid growth and maintain wind firmness. The basis of selection is to choose the dominant leaders, i.e. straight stems and general good form. For medium-size sawlog production, the final crop can usually be achieved after two thinnings. The following thinning regime for A. excelsa has been proposed: first thinning at a mean top height of 10-15 m, stocking greater than 800 stems per hectare is reduced to 500-600 stems per hectare; commercial thinning when the mean top height is 20 m, stocking is reduced to a final crop of 250-300 stems per hectare.

Pruning is generally unnecessary, as A. excelsa will self-prune (lower older branches will naturally die and break off).

The germination rate for sentang is 75-80% when seeds are sown directly after harvesting and 50-60% when sown after harvesting. There are 470 seeds/ kg. Fruits should be collected off the trees to avoid contamination by soil borne pathogens and should not be placed directly on the ground. Fruits can be depulped by washing and seeds air dried for 3-7 days in a dry and shaded area before being stored. Density grading by immersion in water can be done, floating seeds should be discarded.

A. excelsa is a plant of lowland monsoon forests in southeast Asia usually occurring in old clearings or secondary forest, but also found in primary dipterocarp forest up to 350 m altitude. It is mostly associated with Durio, Palaquim, Calophyllum and Agathis species.

Root cuttings are possible for industrial scale A. excelsa establishment. This is the best way to guarantee an adequate supply of clonal material from desirable donor trees. Over 90% rooting rates have been obtained when cuttings are taken from coppicing shoots. Rootlets 0.3-0.5 cm diameter and 3-5 cm long have been used successfully in Thailand as propagules. Tissue culture for mass propagation has not been demonstrated to be viable for large-scale seedling production.

Poison:  The plant parts are insecticidal. The active principle marrangin (azadirachtin L) has multiple effects on the development of insects.

The sentang shows potential for plantation establishment and can be used in reforestation and afforestation programmes.

Erosion control:  Sentang can be planted for soil conservation purposes.

  In the Malaysian Peninsular, the young shoots, leaves and flowers are consumed as a vegetable.

Apiculture:  The fragrant flowers are a source of pollen and nectar.

Timber:  Sentang is a lightweight to medium-weight hardwood, the heartwood is pale reddish-brown and distinctly demarcated from the yellowish-white, greyish white or sometimes grey-pink sapwood. The wood density is 550-780 kg/cu m at 15% moisture content. Sentang wood is rated as non-durable to moderately durable. The wood is generally easy to work with good boring and planing properties, and takes a good finish. The timber has been used for construction work (joinery, interior finishing and flooring) and for furniture. Its veneer potential is high.

Shade or shelter:  A. excelsa is a useful shade provider.

Tannin or dyestuff:  The tree’s bark contains tannins.

Lipids:  The seed oil fatty acid composition is: caprylic acid 0.30%, n-capric acid 0.96%, palmitic acid 9.8%, stearic acid 4.7%, heneicosanoic acid 0.72%, behenic acid 2.76%, and tricosanoic acid 0.75%.

Medicine:  Seed products of Azadirachta species have been used for a long time in traditional medicine.

Ornamental:  The sentang is a beautiful tree planted in botanical and experimental gardens.

Soil improver:  The leaves are used in agriculture as mulch.

Intercropping:  A. excelsa is a lesser known tropical fast growing evergreen multipurpose tree of agroforestry potential. Sentang and rubber are often mixed in plantations.