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 Latin Name : Syzygium Aromaticum
 Family : Myrtaceae
 Genus : Eugenia
 Common names : Clove, Clovos, Caryophyllus
 Clove plant

Cloves are the dried, unopened flower buds of the evergreen clove tree. This small reddish-brown flower bud resemble a tiny nail head. The name clove is believed to be derived either from the Latin word 'clavus' or the French word 'clou' which means nail. It is native to Moluccas or Spice Islands (Indonesia) but is also grown in India, Sumatra, Jamaica, the West Indies, Brazil and other tropical areas. This pyramidal evergreen clove tree, grows up to 15 to 30 feet tall, has smooth grey bark and ovate 5 inches long leaves with small bell-shaped white flowers which grow in terminal clusters. The flower buds are greenish and turns pink at maturity. The seeds are oblong, soft, grooved on one side.

All parts of the clove tree are highly aromatic. Dried flower buds, which gives a sharp and spicy flavor, either whole or ground are used for culinary purposes. Clove oil, obtained by distillation, is widely used in synthetic vanilla and other flavorings as well as in perfumes. It has medicinal properties for digestive complaints, indigestion, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and used to treat cough, infertility, warts, worms, wounds and toothache etc.

Propagation, Planting and Harvesting

Cloves require a humid, warm tropical climate. It grows well in rich loamy soils of the humid tropics and can be grown successfully in the red soils as well as in the hilly terrain of the Western Ghats. Since the crop cannot withstand water logged conditions, clove needs good drainage. Clove prefers partial shade and a cooler climate with well distributed rainfall which is ideal for flowering.

Cloves are usually propagated by seeds or by cuttings. Fruits for seed collection are allowed to ripe on the tree itself and drop down naturally. These fruits can be sown directly or soaked in water overnight and the pericarp removed before sowing.


The seeds of the clove can be sown in a loose soil-sand mixture prepared with well rotted organic matter, on raised beds. Seeds are sown at 2-3 cm spacing at a depth of about 2 cm. The seed beds have to be protected from direct sunlight. The seeds will germinate about 10 to 15 days and can be transplanted in polythene bags containing a mixture of soil, sand and well decomposed cow dung. The seeds can also be sown directly in polythene bags filled with soil-sand-cow dung mixture and kept in a shady cool place. The seedlings are ready for transplanting in the field when they are 18-24 months old. The pits for planting the seedlings are partially filled with compost, green leaf or cattle manure and covered with top soil. Clove trees are planted in garden lands together with various other crop plants such as coconut, banana, jack, mango etc.

Under good soil and management condition, flowering begins in about five to seven years. The buds are hand-picked when the heads develop a pink caste or just before they open. At this stage, they are less than 2 cm long. The harvested flower buds are separated from the clusters and are then sun-dried. As they dry, the stems turn very dark brown and the heads become light tan in colour. Well dried cloves will be only about one-third the weight of fresh cloves. A mature tree may yield  seven to 40 pounds in one harvest.

Cloves have a very warm, pungent, sweet aroma, with a slightly astringent quality. Oil of clove is prized for its antiseptic qualities, and is often used in toothpaste and mouth washes. Both whole and ground forms keep well for years. Cloves are used widely in both sweet and savory dishes. Three essential oils are available from this spice: clove bud oil, clove stem oil and clove leaf oil. Each has different chemical composition and flavour. Clove bud oil, is the most expensive and the best quality product among the oils.

Problems and Care

Seedling wilt is a serious problem and the leaves of affected seedlings loose natural luster, tend to droop and ultimately die. Since the infected plants promote further spread of the disease, they have to be removed. Leaf rot, leaf spots and bud shedding are other problems noticed in mature trees and seedlings. The foliage of affected trees should be sprayed with carbendazim and prophylatic. The scale insects feed on plant sap and cause yellow spots on leaves and wilting of shoots and the plants present a sickly appearance. They can be controlled by spraying monocrotophos.

Organic manures can be applied as a single dose at the beginning of the rainy season in trenches dug around the trees. The fertilizers must be applied in two equal split doses in May-June and in September-October in shallow trenches dug around the plant normally about 1-1 m away from the base.

Questions of
 Questions & Answers
 1.  Posted on : 26.4.2012  By  :  Geetha , Coimbatore View Answer (0) Post Answer

Sir, I would like to grow cardamom in my home garden. Is it possible to grow in this place? Where can i get the seeds or sapling?

 2.  Posted on : 4.9.2010  By  :  Radhika , Pune, Pune View Answer (2) Post Answer

What are Burdock seeds called in India and where can i get them here in India?


Arctium lappa, commonly called greater burdock, gobō, edible burdock, lappa, ... Propagation is achieved through sowing the seeds midsummer. More :

  Posted By :Sheikh Gulzaar , Kashmir | On 16.9.2020

In marathi it is called ghagra. Burdock is a plant that is related to the daisy family. It is also closely related to Echinacea, Dandelion, and Feverfew. Burdock is an herb but it is one that has been much neglected when it comes to getting attention. Back in ancient times the Greeks used the roots, the seeds, and the greens and used them for healing purposes. Throughout the Middle Ages Burdock was used for both food and medicine. Today, Burdock is still used for such things as easing liver problems and digestive disorders. It was also found to be very effective for cleansing the skin for problems such as acne and also to assist in digestive problems. To this day throughout Europe the stalk and the greens are still eaten because they hold such valuable nutrition and vitamin values. As more and more research is being done on Burdock many new and interesting discoveries are cropping up. A relationship is being examined between Burdock and its anti fungal and anti bacterial properties, and even more important it is showing signs of possibly being able to fight against tumors and could be a cancer fighting agent as well. Research has shown that since many of the cancer causing compounds are in almost all foods which are then eaten and stored in the human fat tissues that Burdock might very well be of help in fighting cancer because of the role that it can play in depleting these mutagens. Burdock is also very helpful in strengthening the immune system when it has become weakened by environmental factors. When mixed with other herbs such as Dandelion and Ginger it can be a very powerful blood purifier. The most unique fact about Burdock is that it has a very high amount of inulin which is a natural occurring chemical within the body that mimics actions of insulin. Because of this, Burdock has been successful in helping combat hypoglycemia and pre diabetes conditions. If you look for Burdock in the market you may find it called gobo instead as that is what some refer to it as. It is often combined with other vegetables or added to Tofu. Some boil Burdock while others sautי or deep fry it. Many have said it might not be such a good idea to look at Burdock before you eat it because you might change your mind about taking a bite. It looks thick, dark, and woody but indeed the opposite is true when it comes to the taste. Burdock is well recognized as a health food because it has low calorie content and a high fiber intake. It is also loaded with potassium, iron, and calcium. People claim that Burdock tastes like nothing else. In other words it has a taste all of its own. The best description that people can agree on when it comes to the flavor of Burdock is that it is sweet yet earthy, with a tender and crisp texture. It is often added to stews, soups, and stir fries. In the form of food, Burdock is highly nutritional and full of vitamins but in retrospect Burdock is also an effective herb for bringing the body back into balance.

  Posted By :Yashashri Joshi , Thane | On 14.3.2012
 3.  Posted on : 28.3.2010  By  :  Linda , Michigan View Answer (1) Post Answer

Can a Clove tree be bonsai or grow as house plants like bay leaf or allspice?


Yes, Clove is a nice tree to plant in a house, Also you can maintain as a bonsai.

  Posted By :Rynco Orchids , trivandrum | On 17.4.2010
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