Nutmeg is a perennial ever green spice tree and a native of Molluccas in East Indonesia.  There is some evidence to suggest that the Roman priests may have burned nutmeg as a form of incense. It is also known to have been used as a prized and costly spice in medieval cuisine, used as flavorings, medicines, preserving agents and that were at the time highly valued in the European markets. Nutmeg is reported to have been introduced to Sri Lanka in the beginning of the 19th centaury but there are evidences that the crop had been brought here even before that by merchants who were traveling on the Silk Road.  

Products and Uses

Nutmeg and mace are the main two products. Oils are extracted from both nutmeg and mace. Powdered nutmeg and mace is used in curry powders.
Nutmeg and mace are mainly used for culinary purposes to flavor curries and other food products, confectionaries and bakery products. It is also used in preparation of beverages and drinks. Nutmeg is used as an ingredient in Ayurvedeic and Chinese medicine.

Major Growing Areas

Nutmeg prefers cooler climates hence mid country areas of Sri Lanka are ideal for the growth of nutmeg.  Total extent of Nutmeg in Sri Lanka is 924ha and from which 80% of the extent is in Kandy district. Other major growing areas are Kegalle and Matale districts.


In Sri Lanka no specific varieties have been identified. Mother trees are selected considering high yield (over10,000fruits/tree/yr), regular bearing habit, size of the nut (wet weight 10g /fruit) and heavy mace (wet weight 1g/fruit).


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