Historical Spice Plant Question -Reply

John E. Silvius SILVIUSJ at CEDARNET.CEDARVILLE.EDU
Thu Apr 24 14:09:11 EST 1997


REGARDING "ALLSPICE":
>>> Shane K. Bernard <skb8721 at unix.tamu.edu>  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?

REPLY:

My understanding is that allspice is dried fruits of Pimento dioica
(or P. officinalis) of the Myrtaceae.  REF: V.H. Heywood. 1985.
Flowering Plants of the World. Prentice Hall.

John E. Silvius
Professor of Biology
Cedarville College
Cedarville, OH  45314

Phone 513-766-7948
silviusj at cedarville.edu



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