It’s a native of India, South East Asia and Australia, and has many other names, including white cedar, chinaberry, umbrella tree, and Pride of India.
Like the titoki berries, these little suns contain a secret. Inside each is a 5-grooved seed. The seeds have traditionally been used for rosary beads.
Of course, as soon as I read this, I wanted to see one. I was able to find three berries on the ground under the melia tree in my driveway, and uncovered the hard little seed in two of them, which I’ve photographed next to the berry itself. As you can see, the surfaces are perfect for the fingers to grip as the rosary is worked.
What treasures there are in nature, always awaiting discovery. This winter is yielding many secrets.