Photo credit: Boo Chih Min
Did you know that Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) was cultivated in Singapore’s first botanical and experimental garden established by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822 on Fort Canning Hill? You can also find two Nutmeg trees in the Singapore Botanic Gardens that are listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore.
Nutmeg, also known as Pokok Pala or Buah Pala, is a small tree that can grow up to 10 m tall. It is a dioecious species, that is, it has separate male and female plants. It has fragrant leaves and yellow flowers, which produce fruits with an aromatic yellow husk.
The Nutmeg tree is actually the source of two spices: nutmeg which is the seed kernel ground into powder, and mace which is the dried seed’s waxy red covering or aril. Nutmeg is used in many sweet and savoury Indian dishes such as halwa (pudding), a dessert which is often served during Deepavali, the Indian Festival of Lights.
This species can be propagated by seed, stem cuttings or grafting. It should be cultivated in well-draining, acidic loamy soil with full sun.
Learn more about this plant here.
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