BACKGROUND, ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION
The curry tree originated in India and Sri Lanka where it is widely cultivated. The species has been an important part of Indian culture for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Used as a traditional medicine, for flavoring, and as a fruit.
Over the centuries the tree has been introduced to many tropical and subtropical areas of the world by Indian immigrants who will use it daily as an essential part of their cuisine.
Curry tree is well known in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, however it remains rare and unexploited in the Americas. Curry tree is closely related to the East Asian mock orange (M. paniculata, previously M. exotica).
USES AND ETHNOBOTANY
M. koenigii serves as excellent evergreen living fence, windbreaks. The wood is very resistant and is used to make tool handles and such. The leaves and bark and fruit have numerous medicinal properties. The fruit is edible and sweet and the leaves and seeds contain an aromatic oil used in perfumes.
In my experience, people familiar with many realms of Asian cuisine are always very excited to see this tree. The leaf is essential for flavoring in many dishes.
Trees flower and fruit profusely, multiple times a year. The flowers are very fragrant, attracting honey bees and hummingbirds. Larger trees create a nice dappled shade.
PROPAGATION AND CULTIVATION
Curry tree can be propagated easily and quickly from seed. The tree grows in tropical and subtropical climates up to 1,800 meters above sea level and requires well drained soils. It seems to be reasonably drought tolerant. Once in the ground the tree grows rapidly.