requires a hot, humid climate without pronounced dry season.
The soil should be rich in organic matter and well drained.
The tree prefers partial shade. Sheltered valleys are
the best suited. It can be grown up to about 900 m above
Fully ripened tree-burst fruits are selected for raising
seedlings. The fleshy rind and the mace are removed
before sowing. The seeds should be sown immediately
after collection. If there is any delay in sowing, the
seeds should be kept in baskets filled with damp soil.
The seedbeds of 100-120 cm width, 15 cm height and of
convenient length may be prepared in cool and shady
places. A mixture of garden soil and sand in the ratio
3:1 may be used for preparing nursery beds. Over this,
sand is spread to a thickness of 2-3 cm and the seeds
dibbled 2 cm below the surface at a spacing of about
12 cm on either side. Seeds germinate within 50-80 days
after sowing. When the plumule produces two elongated
opposite leaves, the seedlings are to be transferred
from beds to polybags.
Since the nutmeg trees require shade, suitable fast
growing shade trees like Albizia, Erythrina etc. are
planted in advance. Banana can also be grown as a shade
crop in the early stages. Pits of 90 x 90 x 90 cm are
dug at a spacing of 8 x 8 m with the onset of southwest
monsoon. The pits are filled with topsoil and compost
or well-decomposed cattle manure and seedlings are planted.
Apply 10 kg cattle manure or compost per seedling during
the first year. Increase the quantity gradually till a
well-grown tree of 15 years and above receives 50 kg of
organic manures per year. Apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 20:18:50
g/plant during the first year. This may be doubled in
the next year. Gradually increase the N:P2O5:K2O dose
to 500:250:1000 g/plant/year to obtain full dose from
15th year onwards.
The hard scale Saissetia nigra occurs on the pencil
thick branches and desaps the tissues. The infested
shoots invariably develop sooty mould cover. It can
be controlled by spot spraying with quinalphos 0.025%.
spot and shot hole (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)
Sunken spots surrounded by a yellow halo are the initial
symptoms. Subsequently the central portion of the necrotic
region drops off resulting in shot hole symptoms. Dieback
symptoms are also observed in some of the mature branches.
On young seedlings drying of the leaves and subsequent
defoliation are seen. The disease can be controlled
by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture two or three times during
This is caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and
Botryodiplodia theobromae. Water soaked lesions are
seen on the fruits, the tissues of which become discoloured
and disintegrated. Premature splitting of the pericarp
and rotting of mace and seed are the main symptoms of
the disease. The internal tissues are found rotten.
The fallen fruits become enveloped with the growth of
the organism. The disease can be controlled by spraying
1% Bordeaux mixture.
other diseases include leaf blight (Botryodiplodia theobromae),
leaf spot (Alternaria citri), sooty mould (Phragmocapnius
sp.) and the algal leaf spot (Cephaleuros sp.).
are available throughout the year, but the peak period
of harvest is from December to May. When fruits are fully
ripe, the nuts split open. These are either plucked from
the tree or allowed to drop. The two major products are
nutmeg and mace. Dried nutmeg and mace are directly used
as spice and also for the preparation of their derivatives.
de-rinding the nutmeg fruit, red feathery aril (mace)
is separated from pericarp. The mace is detached, flattened
and dried in sun on mats for 3-5 days.
nuts are dried in the sun for six to eight days till
they rattle in their shell. They are stored in warm
dry place prior to shelling.
Nutmeg and mace oleoresins are prepared by extracting
the ground spice with organic solvents. Yield of oleoresin
is 10-12 per cent for nutmeg and 10-13 per cent for
mace. Mace oleoresin possesses a fine, fresh fruity
Nutmeg contains 25-40 per cent of fixed oil that can
be obtained by pressing the crushed nuts between plates
in the presence of steam or by extracting with solvents.
The product, known as nutmeg butter, is a highly aromatic,
orange coloured fat with the consistency of butter at
This is obtained as pale yellow to white volatile liquid
possessing a fresh warm aromatic odour. The yield ranges
from 7 to 16 %. The unshelled nuts are coarsely crushed
in a mechanical cracker and steam distilled.
The mace yields 4-17 % colourless to pale yellow liquid
possessing organoleptic properties similar to nutmeg
oil. Nutmeg and mace oil are also used for flavouring.