Myristica fragrans is an evergreen tree, usually 5–15 m (16–49 ft) tall, but occasionally reaching 20 m (66 ft) or even 30 m (98 ft) on Tidore.
The alternately arranged leaves are dark green, 5–15 cm (2.0–5.9 in) long by 2–7 cm (0.8–2.8 in) wide with petioles about 1 cm (0.4 in) long.
Myristica fragrans is an evergreen tree indigenous to the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. It is important as the main source of the spices nutmeg and mace. It is widely grown across the tropics including Guangdong and Yunnan in China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Grenada in the Caribbean, Kerala in India, Sri Lanka and South America. Nutmeg, a pungent and a warm, slightly sweet tasting spice, is used to flavor many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog. Carpellate trees produce smooth yellow ovoid or pear-shaped fruits, 6–9 cm (2.4–3.5 in) long with a diameter of 3.5–5 cm (1.4–2.0 in). The fruit has a fleshy husk. When ripe the husk splits into two halves along a ridge running the length of the fruit. Inside is a purple-brown shiny seed, 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long by about 2 cm (0.8 in) across, with a red or crimson covering (an aril). The seed is the source of nutmeg, the aril the source of mace.
Nutmeg is a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect against the signs of aging and serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and liver disease. Nutmeg oil is used in several dental products. A popular spice available in both ground and whole form, nutmeg is known for its warm, nutty flavor, making it the perfect addition to comforting sweet and savory dishes. Once ground, nutmeg spice takes on a warm and aromatic flavor with notes of clove.
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