Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: African nutmeg, calabash nutmeg. Luganda: Nagomola Lusoga: Mukoza Rutoro: Mugema.

+ Tree Species

Monodora myristica

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

African nutmeg is native to tropical West Africa and further east to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It is a tropical genus of the primitive custard apple family with about 15 species. This tree is typical of rain forest and occurs in all the lowland forest of Uganda in Central, Southern, Western and Eastern Regions. In Kampala, African nutmeg can be found within Makerere university, Kitante courts, Mulago hospital among other places.

+ Description

A deciduous forest tree 5-30 m tall, but usually 10-15 m, with a rounded crown giving heavy shade. The bole can be up to 2 meters in diameter.

BARK: grey with vertical ridges distinctly rounded.

LEAVES: oblong, often wider at the tip, 5-60 cm long and 3-20 cm across (average 20 x 7), the tip shortly pointed, bent back and the base very rounded on a thick 1 cm leaf stalk, purplish like the prominent midrib. Very many side veins are raised below.

FLOWERS: large and single, hanging on stalks to 20 cm, a leafy bract grows from the stalk. Outer 3 sepals narrow to 4 cm, pale green with dark red frilly edges, 3 large outer petals enclose 3 smaller inner ones. Outer petals oval, 4 -10 cm cream-yellow with dark red-brown spots and a frilly edge, tip pointed; inner petals broadly oval, cream-white, with purple-brown markings fold over the flower center like a lantern. There are very many stalkless stamens around the conical ovary.

FRUIT: globose, 13 cm across, smooth and green becoming brown and woody, containing seeds in a fragrant pulp. Seeds 2.5 cm, shiny and edible.

+ Uses

Edible: seeds are ground into a powder then used as a condiment in food, providing a flavour resembling that of nutmeg. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Monodora+myristica

Medicine: bark, and seeds. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Monodora+myristica

The seeds are used to make aromatic necklaces and rosaries.

The seeds are used to repel fleas and lice.

The seeds are used for perfuming soap.

The seeds are used to make a reddish-brown fixed oil. 

The wood is suitable for carpentry and turnery, and also used for making walking sticks.

+ Propagation

Seeds, layering, suckers.

+ Management

Pollarding, lopping, pruning. Branches should be cut back from time to time.

+ Remarks

This is a very attractive tree when in flower and when planted as an ornamental it should be allowed plenty of space. The roasted seeds are a potential food and firewood can be obtained by pollarding.

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