The marrango or philippine neem tree,Azadirachta excelsa (=A. Integrifoliola): A new source of insecticides with growth-regulating properties


The best-known species of the genusAzadirachta (family Meliaceae) isA. indica (Indian neem tree). There are at least two other congeneric species in Southeast Asia, namely,A. siamensis (Thai neem tree) andA. excelsa (Jack) Jacobs (marrango or Philippine neem tree). To extend our limited knowledge of the marrango tree, investigations were carried out in the Philippines on the island of Palawan, and in Germany. Comparisons of the properties ofA. indica withA. excelsa showed many similarities but also clear differences. WhereasA. indica thrives in hot dry regions,A. excelsa is a plant of lowland monsoon forests in Southeast Asia and tolerates greater rainfall thanA. indica. Bioassays of leaf, bark and seed extracts of both species against insects revealed greater bioactivity forA. excelsa, which contains azadirachtin as well as marrangin, a new compound closely related to azadirachtin, in its seed kernels. Marrangin was more toxic than azadirachtin to the Mexican bean beetle,Epilachna varivestis.A. excelsa could be a valuable source of growth-regulating pesticides in greater rainfall areas of the tropics. It also produces a high-value timber and its leaves can be used as a vegetable or for medicinal purposes. However,A. excelsa is an endangered plant owing to the deforestation in Southeast Asia.

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Schmutterer, H., Doll, M. The marrango or philippine neem tree,Azadirachta excelsa (=A. Integrifoliola): A new source of insecticides with growth-regulating properties. Phytoparasitica 21, 79 (1993).

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Key Words

  • Azadirachta excelsa (= A. integrifoliola)
  • taxonomy
  • morphology
  • distribution and ecology
  • insecticidal properties
  • non-insecticidal uses
  • Azadirachta indica