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What is Murraya?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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Twelve different species make up the plant genus known as murraya. People often keep a type of this tree as a landscaping plant, usually in potted form. Some types of the plant, such as the curry tree, is used for culinary purposes. Murraya are also used in folk medicine to treat stomach complaints and other ailments.

These tropical and subtropical species create eye-catching focal points in both indoor and outdoor settings. The trees generally do not grow more than three feet (1 meter) in height, making them popular plants for indoor growing. Aromatic and vibrant, the shrub's leaves are green and pinnate, growing up to 1 to 1.5 inches (2 to 4 centimeters) in length.

Members of the murraya family typically require full sunlight to thrive. Some species may grow in partial shade. Considered easy plants to grow, the trees need environments no cooler than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Seeds, which may be buried while still encapsulated within the plant's fruits, must be planted while fresh to ensure that they grow. Dry seeds typically will not flourish.

Good soil bases to grow murraya plants in can include loam, sand, and peat moss. A mixture of these components works well with the plants. These landscaping plants require little water during the winter. In the summer months, the plants should be allowed to fully dry between waterings. If kept outdoors, the plants should be moved indoors during the winter season in most areas.

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Planting murraya shrubs is not always necessary. The pinnate plants are available to purchase in many shops as small or already-grown trees. They may also be ordered already grown online. Blooming takes place from late spring to mid-summer. Plants yield small white, sweetly scented flowers. Fruit, which is typically dark purple, red orange, or almost black in coloration and very shiny, grows during the late summer months.

Native to India and Sri Lanka, murraya trees are members of the Rutaceae family. They are also known as one of the main sources of carbazole alkaloids. Though some of the trees' leaves and berries are used in preparing foods, their seeds are poisonous. Leaves can be taken directly from the tree, washed, and used in cooking traditional Indian cuisine, such as curry dishes. The fruits themselves may be eaten raw if desired.

In addition to cooking, leaves are used as medical tonics. They can be helpful in treating stomach discomfort as well as animal bites. Some use the plant as an anti-fungal and antibacterial treatment. Murraya bark and roots are also said to have medicinal properties.

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