Cinnamon Myrtle

𝘉𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘢 𝘮𝘺𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘢

Also known as: Grey Myrtle, Ironwood, Neverbreak, Australian Lancewood

Tolerating most free-draining soil types and even light frost, this small rainforest tree species is native to the subtropical rainforests of eastern Australia. It’s popular for the spicy and fragrant leaves. Cinnamon Myrtle has a rich green colour with a yellow-coloured new growth shooting up in spring. This tree grows well in most soil and climate conditions, and will tolerate long, dry summers provided it is watered regularly. Grows best in full sun, but can also thrive under part-shade or full shade. Its ovate leaves start out light and bright green when young, but darken with age. Allowed to grow bushy, this tree makes a wonderful addition to a leafy backyard.

In the wild, Cinnamon Myrtle can reach 7m tall, but expect heights of around 3m in a home garden. With its naturally dense foliage, it makes an excellent shade tree, screen or windbreak. It can be kept smaller with regular pruning.

Native to northern NSW and Queensland, the leaves are commonly used as a flavouring for baked goods, stews, juices and more. Full-sun is preferred but it can grow in part-shade areas. Harvest the 3-6 cm long leaves for a pleasant spicy cinnamon-like aroma and flavour. They’re a popular spice in various dishes and recipes, deserts, confectionary and herbal teas. Add to curries, stews and rice dishes.

Cinnamon Myrtle was used extensively by indigenous people as a spice in cooking, due to its unique aroma and widespread accessibility. Use it fresh as the rich oils are best when used straight off the plant. Use similarly to bay leaf. The fragrantly spicy leaves are useful for curries, stews, and warm winter meals, and can be used to smoke meats.

Cinnamon Myrtle leaves may also be used in place of conventional cinnamon spice to flavour curries, stews, soups, roasts, ribs and sauces. In desserts, they add a warm, earthy flavour to pies, biscuits, sweets, pastries and slices. They may also be used fresh or dried, steeped in hot water, as a herbal tea.

To harvest, select young, soft leaves and pluck them straight off the branch. The tiny cream-white flowers usually bloom in Summer, attracting birds and pollinating insects.

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