Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Curry leaf, Sweet neem.

+ Tree Species

Murraya koenigii

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Curry leaf is native to India to Indochina. It's found in moist forests, evergreen and deciduous forests. It grows best in deep, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade; in Africa it is either kept in large pots or grown in home-gardens. Flowering is from March to June and fruiting from June to August.

+ Description

Curry leaf is a most attractive, small evergreen tree with wonderfully sweet, curry-pungent foliage. It grows up to2.5 m tallwith a trunk up to 40 cm diameter.

BARK: dark green to brown, with numerous dots.

LEAVES:compound, odd-pinnate 30 cm-long leaves are composed of 11-21 shiny, dark green, lance-shaped leaflets (4.9 cm long, 1.8 cm wide). Leaflet apex emarginate and base oblique, margin slightly toothed. The leaflet is attached to the rachis (leaf stalk forming the main axis of the leaf) by a 0.5 cm-long, reddish petiole in alternate to sub-opposite arrangement (leaflets single and alternating to almost paired). Leaves are highly aromatic when rubbed or crushed.

FLOWERS: White, funnel-shaped, 5-lobed flowers have a sweet fragrance (1.1 cm wide). Flowers are arranged in clusters (called as cyme) at the terminal. 

FRUITS: Black, glossy fruits are round to oblong (1.4-1.6 cm long, 1-1.2 cm wide). Each fruit contains a single, dark green seed (11 mm long, 8 mm wide) which takes up half the volume of the fruit. The pulp is edible, rich in Vitamin C and tastes sweet.

+ Uses

Edible: the leaves are common ingredient in curries, chutneys, stews etc., fruit is eaten and has a peppery flavor. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Murraya+koenigii

Medicine: leaves, roots, bark, fruit, essential oil found in the leaves and seeds. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Murraya+koenigii

An oil is extracted from the ripe seeds.

Agroforestry: can be grown as a hedge.

An oil obtained from the leaves (essential oil) is used in the soap industry.

Young twigs are used as tooth brush, and are reported to strengthen the gums and the teeth.

The leaves are thought to be a hair tonic in India, where it is believed that they can prevent the hair greying.

+ Propagation

Seeds, division of suckers, cuttings

+ Management

Slow growing.

+ Remarks

The plant is often cultivated for its leaves in the gardens of the tropics.

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