OTHER NAME: Indian bay, PLANT FAMILY: Rutaceae, HEIGHT: 6m (20ft) HABIT: Tender, evergreen tree with dark grey bark, pinnate, green leaves and small white flowers
Common Name - Indian bay
Native to India, Bangladesh, and Sir Lanka, the curry tree is now widely cultivated in tropical countries. The name ‘curry’ (from the Tamil word ‘kari’, meaning ‘spicy sauce’) is a reference to the leaves’ strong spicy smell and flavor. It has long been valued in South Asia as both a medicinal and culinary herb. In South Asian traditional medicine it was used to treat the digestive system, skin conditions, and diabetes when modern research proving that it does indeed have anti-diabetic properties. Tamil literature from the first to fourth centuries AD mentions the aromatic leaf as the flavoring for vegetables and it is widely used in Asian cuisine. Traditionally, fresh leaves are added whole to dishes such as curries or dhal, in the same way, that bay leaves are used to infuse dishes in Italian cookery. It is widely cultivated commercially and is also a popular ornamental garden plant.