Trees of Morni: Curry-leaf

Curry-leaf tree/ Kari patta करी पत्ता (Murraya koenigii) – is a small tree, growing up to 20 feet tall, with aromatic, pinnate leaves with 11-21 leaflets.

Curry patta shrub, Mandana, Morni Hills
Curry patta shrub, Mandana, Morni Hills

The plant produces small, white self-pollinating flowers.

It bears small, glossy black berries that yield a single, large viable seed.

Curry patta- berries, Mandana, Morni Hills (July)
Curry patta- berries, Mandana, Morni Hills (July)

The species is named after the German botanist Johann Gerhard König who worked as a naturalist for the Nawab of Arcot in the late 18th century and discovered a number of medicinal plants in his travels across the hills of South India and his voyages to Ceylon and South East Asia.
The plant is best known for its aromatic leaves that are used as a seasoning in Indian curries and also South-Indian/ Sri Lankan dishes like vada, rasam and kadhi. The leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, calcium and folic acid and are used for preparing
Ayurvedic medicines.

Curry leaves
Curry leaves

The plant can be propagated from stem cuttings or from fresh seeds.

Curry tree grows wild all over the Shivaliks upto an altitude of 1500 metres. Morni hills are particularly blessed with this spicy shrub that grows almost like a weed.