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Syn: Myristica officinalis (L.); Myristica americana (Rottb.), Palala fragrans (Houtt.) Kuntze

Family: Myristicaceae

Myristica fragrans

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.

Myristica fragrans

Substitutions: No officially recognized varieties.

Ecology: Myristica fragrans plants thrives in well-drained, rich, and loamy soils within humid, tropical rainforests.

Myristica fragrans

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.

Myristica fragrans

Author of text and photos: Chanduni Bootawatta.

Photographed in Harasgama village Matale, Sri Lanka on 01/11/2023.

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