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Chinese Plant Names | Family List | Myristicaceae | Myristica

Myristica fragrans Houtt.


Description from Flora of China

Small trees, to 10 m tall; branches slender, minutely pubescent, early glabrescent. Petiole 6-12 mm; leaf blade elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate, 4-8 cm, nearly leathery, both surfaces glabrous, base broadly cuneate or nearly rounded, apex shortly acuminate; lateral veins 6-10 pairs. Male inflorescences 2.5-5 cm, glabrous, shortly peduncled, simple or forked, with 4-8 or more flowers on slender branches. Male flowers: pedicel 10-15 mm; bracteole caducous; perianth trigonous-ovoid, 5-7 mm, lobes 3(or 4), with minute tomentum outside; anthers 9-12; synandrium ca. 5 mm, column ca. 2 mm, sterile apex ca. 0.5 mm. Female inflorescences 1- or few flowered. Female flowers: pedicel 8-12 mm; bracteole inserted on base of perianth, leaving ringlike scar after abscission; perianth ca. 6 × 4 mm; ovary ellipsoid, with dense rusty pubescence; style extremely short; stigmas 2, minute. Fruiting pedicel 10-15 mm. Fruits 1 or 2, orange or yellow, pyriform or subglobose, 3.5-5 cm in diam. Seeds ellipsoid, 2-3 × ca. 2 cm; aril red, irregularly deeply lacerate; cotyledons short, curled, connate at base.

This species is a famous spice (nutmeg and mace) and medicinal plant. The seeds contain 40%-73% fat and are used in industry. Other parts are used medicinally to treat, for example, dysentery and rheumatic pains and can be used as insect repellant.

Cultivated. Guangdong, Taiwan, Yunnan [native to Indonesia (Moluccas); widely cultivated in the tropics].


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