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Syn: Myristica officinalis (L.); Myristica americana (Rottb.), Palala fragrans (Houtt.) Kuntze
Description: The Myristica fragrans tree is a small, evergreen tree that can reach a height of about 10-20 meters. It has aromatic leaves and bears both male and female flowers on the same tree. The fruit is a fleshy, drupe-like structure, which upon ripening, splits to reveal the seed. The seed is the most valuable part of the plant, which is roughly spherical, about 2-3 cm in diameter, and covered by reddish-brown, lacy or mottled aril known as mace. The inner seed is brown and hard, with a wrinkled surface. Nutmeg and mace used as culinary spices, flavoring agents and in the production of essential oils. They are also used in traditional medicine for various purposes.
Substitutions: No officially recognized varieties.
Ecology: Myristica fragrans plants thrives in well-drained, rich, and loamy soils within humid, tropical rainforests.
General distribution: Grown in various tropical and subtropical regions around the world such as India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia as well as parts of the Caribbean, such as Jamaica.
Endangerment: Not listed as globally endangered species, however habitat loss, overharvesting and vulnerability to diseases may threaten to the current status of the plant.
Author of text and photos: Chanduni Bootawatta.
Photographed in Harasgama village Matale, Sri Lanka on 01/11/2023.