Nútmeg. n.s. [nut and muguèt, French.]
The nutmeg is a kernel of a large fruit not unlike the peach, and separated from that and from its investient coat, the mace before it is sent over to us; except that the whole fruit is sometimes sent over in preserve, by way of sweet-meat or as a curiosity. The nutmeg is of a roundish or oval figure, of a compact or firm texture, and its surface furrowed: it is of an extremely agreeable smell and an aromatick taste. There are two kinds of nutmeg; the male which is long and cylindrical, but it has less of the fine aromatick flavour than the female, which is of the shape of an olive. The Dutch import the nutmegs and mace from the East-Indies, and supply all Europe with them. The tree which produces them is not unlike our pear-tree in its manner of growth: its leaves, whether green or dried, have, when bruised, a very fragrant smell; and the trunk or branches, cut or broken off, yield a red liquor like blood. This tree is carefully cultivated. But that which produces the male nutmeg grows wild in the mountainous parts of the Moluccas. Nutmeg is much used in our foods, and is of excellent virtues as a medicine. Hill.
The second a dry and flosculous coat, commonly called mace; the fourth a kernel included in the shell, which lieth under the mace, is the same we call nutmeg. Brown's V. Err.
I to my pleasant gardens went,
Where nutmegs breathe a fragrant scent. Sandys.