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The nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans) is native to the Moluccas (known as the Spice Islands) in East Indonesia. Nutmeg and mace are both products of the fruit of this tree. The fruit is soft and fleshy and similar to an apricot.

Nutmeg is the kernel of the seed, and mace is the net-like crimson coloured leathery outer growth (aril) that covers the shell of the seed. The main countries of production are Indonesia, Grenada, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, China and India.

There are two types of mace and nutmeg, West Indian (from Grenada) and East Indian (from Indonesia). The flavour of mace is similar to that of nutmeg, but is more refined. Mace is much more expensive than nutmeg. Inferior quality mace has very little aroma and is brittle. Both spices are used for flavouring savoury and sweet foods and as a medicine.

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