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a genus of dioecious evergreen trees of the family Myristicaceae. The flowers are in racemose or umbellulate inflorescences. The fruit is a drupe. There are between 100 and 120 species of Myristica in the tropics of the Old World. The fruits of some species yield nutmeg and mace. The species most valued for yielding spices is the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans), which measures 9–12 m tall and has leathery leaves and light-yellow fragrant flowers. The yellow fruit is 6–9 cm long and has a fleshy pericarp containing a large seed with a branched, fleshy reddish aril. The nutmeg tree, which is native to the Molucca Islands, is cultivated in the tropics of both hemispheres. The seed, or nutmeg, and the dried aril, or mace, have a sharp, spicy flavor and a distinctive aroma. The spices are used in cooking and in the food-processing industry. The essential oils obtained from the plants are used in medicine (mainly in Oriental countries) and by the perfume and tobacco industries.
REFERENCEThe Wealth of India, vol. 6. New Delhi, 1962.
V. N. GLADKOVA