Online Manual for the Forest Tree Seeds of Kerala

A Kerala Forest Department Funded Project

Dr. K Sudhakara
Professor & Head of the Department
Dept. of Silviculture & Agroforestry
College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur 680 656
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Scientific Name  Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Vernacular name  Jathi kai, Japatri (Malayalam); Jaiphal (Hindi); Jajikai (Kannada)
Common name  Nutmeg tree
Synonyms  M. moschata Thunb., Myristica officinalis L.
Family  Myristicaceae
Distribution  The tree is native to the Bunda islands of Indonesia. This tree is cultivated in the Southern parts of India. It is grown in Madras, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and other places in the moist evergreen forests of the Western Ghats
Description  It is a spreading, aromatic, evergreen lofty tree, usually reaching a height of 9-12 m. Sometimes it attains a height of 20 m or more (Bose et al., 1998)
Flowering season  June to October, September to October (Bose et al., 1998)
Fruiting season  Throughout the year. Fruits mature in February to April (Bose et al., 1998)
Flowers  These are pale yellowish brown. The flowers are fragrant, creamy yellow and borne in umbellate cymes. Male racemes: lax, supra-axillary, 2.5-5 cm long; flowers 6 mm long, ellipsoid or urceolate, nodding; bracteole as scale under glabrate perianth; anthers 9-12; female racemes: few-flowered; ovary ovoid-globose, pubescent (Bose et al., 1998)
Fruits  Berry, ovoid, globose or pyriform, about 6 to 9 cm long and yellow. The pericarp is fleshy, splitting into two halves at maturity
Fruit type  Berry
Seeds  The seeds are broadly ovoid with a purplish brown testa
Seed length  6-9 cm
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  800 to 1000 seeds/kg
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection 
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing 
Seed storage  Seeds are recalcitrant and lose viability after only 20% loss in water, which happens after only 7 days of storage. Seeds stored in sealed plastic bags maintain viability for up to 45 days (Madhusudanan and Babu, 1994). Seeds lose germinability at moisture contents <45% when dried at selected temperatures. Germination of stored seeds can be maintained for a longer period of time when stored at 5oC in sealed transparent polythene bags than stored at room temperature (Sangakkara, 1983).
Viability period 
Seed emptiness 
Seed pre treatment  Soaking seeds in 100 ppm GA give 85% germination and vigour index 3945 (Gunasekaran et al., 2001). Seeds soaked in GA3 at 200 ppm for 24 hrs give 75% germination. Germination percentage increases as soaking time is increased for 100 and 200 ppm treatments but decrease as soaking time increase at 1000 ppm (Mathew, 1997). Hulled seeds treated with 0.1% carbendazim give 97.5% germination (Chezhiyan and Ananthan, 1997)
Germination type 
Germination percentage  98
Germination period 
Nursery technique  Seedlings are transplanted in potted soil inoculated with Azospirillum brasilense and Azotobacter chroococcum isolates show increased growth, increased number of leaves and branches compared to untreated (Nair and Naja Chandra, 2001)
Method of propagation  Vegetative propagation
Vegetative propagation 
Medicinal properties  Fruit is used as medicinal. Nutmeg butter or fat obtained from nutmeg is used as a mild external stimulant in ointments, hair lotions and plasters, and forms a useful application in cases of rheumatism, sprains and paralysis (Bose et al., 1998). The methanolic extract of arils show antibacterial activity against cariogenic bacterium, Streptococcus mutans. Dehydrodiisoeugenol and 5'-methoxy dehydrodiisoeugenol are the major active principles. Guaiacin and a new compound are also isolated from the phenolic fraction (Hattori et al., 1986). Petroleum ether and water extracts of seeds show antidiarrhoeal activity (Shidore et al., 1985).Myristica fragrans (MF) seeds has complex actions on the central nervous system. It also exhibits anticonvulsant activity against maximum electroshock (Sonavane et al., 2002). M. fragrans is used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Most important medicinal uses are the treatment of diarrhoea, mouth sores and insomnia. It also has mild sedative action, hallucinogenic or other psychoactive properties (Gils and Cox,1994)
Uses  Nutmeg is used as a spice. Its oil is used in the perfume industry. Nutmeg butter is used in the hair lotion. Pericarp is used in pickles and jellies (Bose et al., 1998). Seeds of Myristica fragrans contains11-29 mg/g free amino acid (Kadam, 2001)
Wood properties  It is not so durable
References  Get ...
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