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Nutmeg and Mace

Nuez moscada

Myristicaceae Myristica fragrans Houtt.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

nutmeg While other species of Myristica produce nutmegs, the principal nutmeg of commerce is M. fragrans. The tree is a tropical evergreen, reaching up to 60 feet, with entire oval leaves up to 10 inches long. The fruit is oval or pyriform about 2 inches long, and consists of an outer fleshy husk and inner seed. The husk splits when ripe, exposing the seed. Immediately surrounding the seed coat is a crimson network of tissue, the mace. The mace is rather leathery in texture. Nutmeg is the inner seed or kernel. Both nutmeg and mace are used mainly as spices. The distinctive flavors are due to volatile oils, present in both tissues. The oil of nutmeg, used as a nutmeg butter, is obtained by crushing and pressing the seed.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch