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Curry Plant    

Murraya. (For John Andreas Murray (1740-91), pupil of Linnaeus and Professor of Medicine and Botany at University of Göttingen.) Rutaceae. Five species of unarmed trees. Leaves odd-pinnate; leaflets alternate. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, of large panicles; flowers five to numerous, rather large, cylindric or elongate-ovoid in bud; calyx divided almost to base into lanceolate sepals; petals lanceolate or linear, imbricate; stamens 10, free, elongate; ovary ovoid, 2-5-locular, generally two ovules per locule; style long, slender. Fruit a small berry, ovoid to subglobose, pulp mucilaginous. Asia (India and China south to Australia). Z10.

Cultivation   

Grown in their native regions as border specimens or as screens and hedging, in cool temperate climates Murraya species are handsome specimens for tubs or large pots in the glasshouse or conservatory. Grown for their large panicles of bloom and rich green, aromatic foliage, Murraya paniculata produces several flushes of deliciously fragrant blooms throughout the year followed by small decorative fruits.

Grow in a fertile moisture-retentive but well-drained medium, that is rich in organic matter, with full sun to part shade. Water plentifully and liquid feed fortnightly when in full growth, moderately at other times. Maintain a winter minimum of 10-30ºC. Prune if necessary in early spring. Propagate by seed in early spring or by semi-ripe cuttings in a closed case with gentle bottom heat. Whitefly may be a troublesome pest under glass.

Murraya koenigii   

CURRY LEAF; KARAPINCHA. Evergreen tree, 4.5-6m, trunk to 3m x 45cm, glabrous or slightly minutely pubescent. Leaves odd-pinnate, pungently aromatic, leaflets 2.5-4cm, 5-10 each side, oblong-lanceolate to ovate, subfalcate, oblique at base, acuminate at apex, more or less minutely serrate, membranous, glabrous or minutely pubescent on midvein beneath; petioles short, minutely pubescent; rachis more or less pubescent, occasionally glabrous. Inflorescence terminal, corymbose; petals 4-6mm, oblong-lanceolate, acute, white or tinged yellow; alternate stamens shorter; style short, thick. Fruit 8-10mm, ellipsoid, apiculate at apex, dark blue tinged black; seeds 1-2. Asia.

When used for culinary purposes it is recommended that the fresh leaves only need to be used sparingly and for best results should be lightly crushed to bring out the aromatic effect on the food under preparation. Poultry can be flavoured merely by placing a few leaves under the skin of your bird before cooking. However, if leaves are allowed to dry out before use, the flavouring effect will be much reduced.

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