The small deciduous curry is native to India. From wild jungles to farmlands and almost everywhere in the Indian subcontinent excluding the higher levels of the Himalayas curry leaves grow in abundance. In the East, its range extends into Burma, Malaysia, South Africa and Reunion islands.
In India in the regions from the Ravi to Sikkim and Assam, besides Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, curry leaves can be seen in abundance.
Curry leaves are extensively used in Southern India and Sri Lanka (and are absolutely necessary for the authentic flavor), but are also of some importance in Northern India. Together with South Indian immigrants, curry leaves reached Outside the Indian sphere of influence, they are rarely found. Curry powder is a British invention to imitate the flavor of Indian cooking with minimal effort. In Indian cuisine curry leaves are used fresh for some recipes or fried in butter or oil for a short while. Since South Indian cuisine is dominantly vegetarian, curry leaves seldom appear in non-vegetarian food. The leaves have soft texture but are usually removed before serving but if eaten they are harmless.
The curry leaves can be kept in the refrigerator for some time and then used and can also be used just after being plucked form the branch.
The trees are also now maintained in homestead gardens, as in Kerala or in leaf farms as in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Orissa. The western world is fast taking enthusiastically to Indian curry leaf for relishing tangy foodstuffs that are not too hot.
The Curry Tree or Curry-leaf Tree (Murraya koenigii; syn. Bergera koenigii, Chalcas koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India. It is a small tree, growing 4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm broad. The flowers are small white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous. The species name commemorates the botanist Johann Gerhard Koenig.