Historical Spice Plant Question

Stefanie Marie Galgon smg4 at DANA.UCC.NAU.EDU
Thu Apr 24 16:21:49 EST 1997


What we call allspice are the drupes of a tall tree that grows largely in
tropical Americas.  The tree sheds its outer bark every year, lanceolate
leaves 10 cm long, dark green on top and lighter below.  The leaves
contain the aromatic constituents that the drupes do, primarily eugenol
(also found in clove).  A tree can produce 30-40 kg berries per year.

Species name: Pimenta dioica (formerly P. officinalis)
Family: Myrtaceae
Spicy part: unripe berries (drupes)
Origin: West Indies and Central America
Cultivation: Jamaica, Cuba, Lesser Antilles, Trinidad, Mexico, Honduras

Information from The Lore of Spices, J.O Swahn, Crescent Books, 1991

Hope this helps,


Stefanie Galgon			lab/message: (520) 523-7735
Department of Biology		
Northern Arizona University	smg4 at dana.ucc.nau.edu

"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death"  
Auntie Mame

On Thu, 24 Apr 1997, Shane K. Bernard wrote:

> In 1811 Alexander de Humboldt wrote of Mexico that "The Myrtle (myrtus
> pimenta), of which the grain forms an agreeable spice . . . is
> produced in the forests . . . of Vera Cruz."
> I have reason to believe that this spice is known commonly today as
> "allspice," or at least is related to allspice.
> Does anyone know what is this myrtus pimenta (obviously a type of
> myrtle) and if it produces a berry used as a spice identical or
> similar to allspice?
> Please reply to skb8721 at unix.tamu.edu
> Thanks,
> Shane
> ***
> Shane K. Bernard (skb8721 at unix.tamu.edu)
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