Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Back

Myristica fragrans Houtt.

Family Name: Myristicaceae
Common Name: Nutmeg, Pokok Pala, Buah Pala, Pala, 玉果, 肉果
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Herb & Spice Fragrant Tree

Name

Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names
Comments

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 10

Biogeography

Native Distribution Moluccas
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Others - Plant Morphology Tree, up to 10 m (rarely 20 m) height. Leaves fragrant when crushed. Flowers, inconspicuous, yellow, no petals; dioecious species (separate male and female plants). Fruits surrounded by aromatic yellowish husk, contain seed kernel (nutmeg) and aromatic red lacy aril (mace). Seeds take 1 to 2 months to germinate. Plant prefers well-drained, acidic loamy soils. Fruit husk processed into preserved fruits and jellies. Nutmeg and mace used as culinary spice. Also used to treat rheumatism and diarrhoea. Believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits, Edible Seeds)
Food (Herb and Spice)
Cultural / Religious ( Heritage Tree : There are several individuals of Myristica fragrans listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore. One can be found at Victoria Park Road. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register. )
[Others]: Nutmeg (seed) and mace (aril) used as spice. Nutmeg used to treat rheumatism and diarrhoea. Fruit husk processed into preserved fruit and jelly.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Flowers, Foliage, Fruits)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Acidic (low pH) Soils
Landscape Uses General
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna) (Seeds dispersed by Nutmeg Pigeons ( Ducula spp.) in Moluccas)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Grafting
Propagation Method Remarks Seeds take 1 to 2 months to germinate.

Foliar

Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Size - Remarks Small, inconspicuous
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Fruit, Seed & Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Cream / Off-White, Yellow / Golden
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Drupe

Image Repository

Images

Others

Master ID 1744
Species ID 3037
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 19 February 2020.
Share