Growing Nutmeg?

lnewportNovember 29, 2010

LOL. My husband accidentally nearly busted his *** on some nutmeg seeds lastnight walking up to a customer's house. He brought two of the seeds home to me to show off "these really huge seeds".

I figured they were nutmeg , did a Google search and they are.

Now I'm curious to try and grow them myself. I found some information on growing nutmeg and it says you need a male and a female.

Right now I have two seeds and want to give it shot but is there anyway to tell if one seedling is a male and other is female?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Hmmm, I am surprised that the nuts are nutmeg, considering that it is produced only in very tropical locations. VERY tropical!

Did your husband bring home the fruits or had the smaller seeds been separated from the fruit? Are the seeds still covered with the mace? What an aroma they must have.

Anyway, to answer your question, you would have to wait for the sexual maturity of the seedlings to determine whether you have males and/or females. The flower structure is the only way to tell.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 5:27AM
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I'm wondering if you've got Nigella sativa.

Description: An erect, herbaceous annual plant, with height ranging from 30-60cm. The leaves are greyish green, fine and feathery. The flowers, which have 5-10 petals and appear in summer, are pale green when young and light blue when mature, becoming pale blue or white later. The fruit is a capsule composed of several united follicles, each containing many seeds, generally 10. The seeds are small, matt-black grains with a rough surface and an oily white interior, about 1.5-3mm long. They smell resembling that of strawberries when crushed. Native to Southern Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia. Also called Black Cumin, Black Caraway, Kalonji, Small Fennel, Fennel Flower, Roman Coriander, Nutmeg Flower, Fitch.

Cultivation: Propagate by seed, sown in late spring or early summer, when temperatures are 20-25°C. Germination time is normally 12 days. The plant takes 140-160 days to reach maturity. Nigella is a cool season crop, requiring a frost-free growing season. Plants are frost sensitive at any growth stage. Prefers a rich, well-drained soil, in a sunny position. The plant self-seeds readily. It may inhibit growth of plants nearby, especially legumes.

If you've got the genuine nutmeg, there should be a large tree nearby, which would be around 12-20 metres tall. (For visualisation purposes, 1 metre is a finger-length longer than a yard). Not something you could miss, exactly!

Description: A large tropical evergreen tree growing on average to 12 metres and reaching as high as 20 metres. The bark is a dark grey-green which produces a yellow juice which oxidizes to red. It is thickly branched with dense foliage with tough, dark green, oval leaves about 10cm long. The trees are dioecious, meaning it has separate male and female plants, both being required for fertilisation. It has small, light yellow bell-shaped flowers. The pale yellow fruit is a drupe, grooved like an apricot, splitting along the groove when ripe to expel the seed. Each fruit contains a kernel which is covered by a bright red membrane. The membrane provides the spice mace and the kernel the spice nutmeg.

Cultivation: Propagate by seed. Transplant when about 6 months old. It prefers the rich volcanic soils and hot, humid conditions of the tropics. It takes five years for the trees to flower, so that the sex can be determined and the males can be thinned out, leaving the optimum situation of one male for every ten females. Full bearing occurs after 15 years and the trees continue to bear fruit for about fifty years. A single mature tree produces up to 2000 nutmegs per year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nigella, showing seed pods

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 8:53PM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

lnewport - How about posting a picture or two of the seeds you have, that would go a long way to help identify whether they're Nutmeg seeds or not.

Southern Nevada

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 10:58PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Daisy, I'm wondering if the OP's husband is so delicate he would have fallen over Nigella pods on the path?

That said, I am also rather dubious about these Texan 'nutmegs'. But I don't know Texan plants so can't make any suggestions. I'm sort of assuming they are some other hard nutmeg-like fruit/seeds. Would a pecan be too far fetched? On the tree nutmeg comes in a fruit a bit like an apricot and the OP hasn't come back on rhizo's question about that. Nor has she mentioned the mace around the nutmeg, nor the aroma. I think we need a picture or a better description.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pecan

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 4:13AM
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LOL, Flora!!

I ditto the need for a photo.

Also I offer a stern warning: never, never eat anything unless you have a 100% correct ID, preferably from an expert. You can always take a plant/seed to a qualified horticulturist at a nursery, and if that isn't conclusive, then there are always botanists at universities and botanical gardens who can ID things for you. The alternative could be death, you know. There are plenty of sneaky poisonous copy-cat plants who mimic the appearance/aroma/taste of safe ones. For myself, I would never put my entire trust in a picture or a few words on the internet! When in doubt, seek expert advice, face to face.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 5:00AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Flora's suggestion is a good one. I had been thinking pecan or one of the other Carya (hickory) nuts when I first read this too. If the nuts are still wrapped in their husks, it could make it more difficult for those not familiar with hickories (like yourself) to ID them. And many those nuts are very "sturdy" and could take being stood upon let let alone tripped over. I linked a google search page with LOTS of pictures for you to compare to.

Pictures say 1,000 words so please post a photo!

And I 1000% agree with Daisy - never taste anything that hasn't 100% been identified by a knowledgeable person. And I too wouldn't base my safety or health on a few words from a stranger on the Internet or some image on some website. Please be safe and make smart choices.


Here is a link that might be useful: Google images - Carya Nuts

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 7:03AM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

Here's a link to information on the Nutmeg tree and seeds from Wikipedia. There's a couple of Photos on the right side that can be double clicked for a larger Photo.

Southern Nevada

Here is a link that might be useful: Nutmeg Tree

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 11:13AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

There I was, trying to be TACTFUL about the nutmeg situation, lol! The chances of a fruit bearing nutmeg growing in Austin (in someone's yard) are not so good, to put it mildly.

I suspect that our OP is long gone, but it would have been nice to see a photograph.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 1:27PM
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Hi guys,

Sorry I took so long to respond. I went out of town right after this so I haven't had a chance to respond until I came back. As it turns out I now don't think it's nutmeg but not sure what the seeds are. Any who I appreciate the information. The pictures of nutmeg I compared the nut to is very similar but I purchased some real nutmeg seeds from a vendor and they do not smell the same.

Who knows. It was an interesting idea at the time.

And to answer your question about my husband Flora. No, my husband is quite a sturdy man but these nuts are rather huge.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 6:25PM
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When I was in Jamaica, one shop was giving out nutmeg seeds as a gift with purchase. I brought several home. Do you think I can grow them in Hilo, Hawaii? Our climate is mild tropical, humid, and it doesn't drop below 60 in the winter. How long can the seeds still germinate after falling from the tree? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 6:04PM
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