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Cinnamon myrtle (bot.: Backhousia myrtifolia) is the spice form of a tree in the botanical family of Myrtaceae. Alternative names are grey myrtle, neverbreak, carrol and carrol ironwood. It is native to the subtropical rainforests of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Cinnamon myrtles are evergreen, up to 30 m high, and may bear light frosts. The leaves are tear-shaped to elliptic, the flowers white and star-shaped. Cinnamon myrtle leaves are used as a spice in Australia. Their essential oil contains elemicin, which is one of the main constituents of the essential oil of nutmeg and is a hallucinogen if consumed in large amounts.

Cinnamon myrtle is closely related to aniseed myrtle (bot.: Backhousia anisata), curry myrtle (bot.: Backhousia angustifolia) and the much more commonly known and popular lemon myrtle (bot.: Backhousia citriodora).

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Culinary use of cinnamon myrtle

Cinnamon myrtle leaves have a pleasant smell and taste very similar to cinnamon. They may be used in sweet and savoury dishes as well as herbal infusions. Where a recipe calls for cinnamon, it may be substituted by the same amount of dried, ground cinnamon myrtle. It is a good spice for curries and Moroccan recipes. In baking it is used for cakes, muffins and cookies. Add one to two leaves when steaming rice for a spiced rice with a slight difference.

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