Murraya koenigii whose leaves are a must in curries!

Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng. (Curry Leaf/Leaves, Curry Leaf Tree)

Potted Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya koenigii) at our backyard Fruits and leaves of Murraya koenigii

Our family, especially my beloved husband love Indian curries and ‘rasam’, a kind of Indian soup that is prepared mainly with tamarind juice, tomatoes, lentils, pepper and some other spices! And the inclusion of curry leaves is a must, to give the ‘uumph’ taste and aromatic flavour in these dishes and some others. Thus, it’s not surprising that the curry leaf plant has always been planted in our garden ever since we got married! Hehe…the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? ;)

Murraya koenigii (Curry Leaf Tree), seen outside Stella Maris Holiday House, PenangBeing a fast growing plant, supply usually far exceeds demand and we were able to sell our abundant leaves to a vegetable seller who frequented our backyard garden every other third month to harvest them! This lasted about 15 years when our plant was on ground where it grew so profusely before we cemented the whole backyard in year 2002. Since then, we’ve planted in a container and comparatively it grows slower, though provides more than sufficient curry leaves for our own use, but not enough to reap $$$…anymore!!

Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :

  • Botanical Name: Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng. (synonym: Bergera koenigii, Chalcas koenigii)
  • Common Name: Curry Leaf, Curry Leaf Plant/Tree, Curry Leaves
  • Family name: Rutaceae (the citrus family)
  • Plant type: An aromatic shrub or small tree, natvie to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Andaman Islands. However, it is now widely cultivated in other tropical to subtropical regions worldwide, including South East Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, California, etc.
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Moisture: Requires medium water regularly.
  • Soil: Well-drained and fairly fertile soil.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from seeds, stem cuttings or rooted suckers from the mother plant.
  • Features: Murraya koenigii is a relatively small or medium-sized semi-deciduous tree ranging from 2.5 – 6 m in height.
    Murraya koenigii (Curry Leaf Tree), seen outside Stella Maris Holiday House, Penang Flowering Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya koenigii) at our backyard, March 20 2011
    It has luxuriant rich green foliage with bipinnately compound leaves, each bearing 11-21 lanceolate leaflets (2-4cm long and 1-2cm broad). Funnel-shaped flowers are small, white and fragrant, clustered in a terminal cyme. It also produces clusters of shiny berry-like edible fruits that ripen to purplish black in color.
  • Usage: Murraya koenigii’s aromatic leaves are used as an important and essential ingredient for food flavouring in Indian and Asian cuisine – mainly in curries, vegetarian dishes, fish, prawn and meat dishes, curry powder blends, etc. Best to use the curry leaves fresh, though can be used dried or powdered. In India, Curry Leaf Tree are grown commercially for export of their curry leaves. This plant can also be grown as an ornamental shrub, attracting birds seeking its ripened fruits, and butterflies such as the Lime Butterfly and Common Mormon, since Murraya koenigii is also a larval host plant for several kinds of butterflies.
    Its fruits are edible and liked for its sweet and nutritional value. Besides, the leaves, bark and roots of the Curry Leaf Plant/Tree contain many medicinal properties. It has anti-diabetic and antioxidant effects. Read more of its medicinal uses at the external links provided below.
  • Care: Preferably, grow Curry Leaf Plant where there’s ample sunlight. Fertilize every 2-3 weeks during the growing season and trim regularly to maintain a bushy plant/tree for steady supply of young curry leaves for cooking. Least bothered by serious pest and diseases, though do look out for caterpillars that feed on its leaves.
  • For temperate zones: Hardiness – USDA Zone 9a to 11. More information at Dave’s Garden.
  • More external links: Explore Plant Cultures and Horticulture at Purdue University.

Last edited: 2011-04-30

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6 Responses to “Murraya koenigii whose leaves are a must in curries!”

  1. Sreelatha Namboo Says:

    Could you please tell me how to care the plants if kept indoors.

  2. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Sreelatha! Sorry, we’re unable to advise as we’ve never grown our Curry Leaf plant indoors.

  3. jacque Says:

    hi jacqueline i hope you can help say you can propagate the murraya koenigii from stem cuttings.can you please tell me how or tell me where i can find the information.thank you

  4. Jacqueline Says:

    Jacque, please check it out at Plant Cultures on how to propagate Curry Leaf from stem cuttings.

  5. jacque Says:

    thank you jacqueline i have done so.hope i have some success as i have a beautiful mother tree that is 2 m and will deliver good cuttings

  6. Jacqueline Says:

    My pleasure, Jacque, and all the best to you!

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