Murraya Koenigii

Murraya Koenigii

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Murraya koenigii

The curry tree (Murraya koenigii; syn. Bergera koenigii, Chalcas koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India.

Its leaves are used in almost all dishes in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Often used in curries, the leaves generally go by the name "curry leaves", though they are also called "sweet neem leaves". The name itself in Tamil is pronounced 'kariveppilai' and in Malayalam 'kariveppila'. Literally, 'kari' means 'curry', 'veppu' neem and 'ilai'/'ila' 'leaf'. In Kannada the name means "black neem", since the appearance of the leaves is similar to the unrelated bitter neem tree. Similarly, in Gujarati it is known as 'limdo' or 'meetho leemdo' and in Hindi as 'meetha neem', meaning "sweet neem". Again, in Hindi and Gujarati it is also called 'karipatta' where 'patta' means 'leaf'.

It is a small tree, growing 4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm broad. They are highly aromatic. The flowers are small, white, and fragrant. The small black shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous.